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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