Wednesday 17 February 2010

Council gives Dunne permission to build offices on Hume House site

DUBLIN CITY Council has given developer Séan Dunne the green light to rebuild Hume House, one of a number of high-profile Ballsbridge properties he bought in 2005.

Mr Dunne acquired Hume House from Irish Life when he swapped a docklands property, Riverside IV, which now houses law firm Matheson Ormsby Prentice (MOP), for the Ballsbridge office block in 2005. He is proposing to demolish the existing structure and build a new series of office blocks, designed by HKR Architects, of between six and eight storeys on the site.

A subsidiary of his group, Mountbrook, made the application last year, and yesterday, Dublin City Council granted it planning permission.

The building was at the centre of a High Court dispute between the developer and property consultants, CB Richard Ellis, last year. CB Richard Ellis sought the payment of €1.5 million fees for its role in deal between Mr Dunne and Irish Life. However, Mr Dunne counterclaimed for €35 million, arguing that, while the property swap was valued at €135 million, the next nearest actual bid was €102 million, and the actual value at the time was between €95 million and €100 million. The parties subsequently settled the case.

A number of parties, including financier Dermot Desmond, have made observations on Mountbrook’s plans for Hume House. As is normal, the permission itself comes with a number of conditions attached. Mountbrook is still working on a planning application for the nearby D4 and Berkeley hotel sites in Ballsbridge. Last November, Dublin City Councillors rejected an application for a combined residential hotel development at the site. That has since gone to An Bord Pleanála, and a decision is expected towards the end of the year.

A syndicate of banks, led by Ulster Bank, recently moved to take a stake in the hotel properties through two companies, Qulpic and ZRKO. Mr Dunne maintains a holding in the properties.

Irish Times

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