€30m plan for Dublin passport office

40-year-old offices in line for demolition and replacement with new block

The Passport Office building at the junction of Molesworth Street and South Frederick Street in Dublin city centre. photograph: cyril byrne

The Passport Office building at the junction of Molesworth Street and South Frederick Street in Dublin city centre. photograph: cyril byrne

 

A 40-year-old office building occupied by estate agent Jones Lang LaSalle and the Passport Office at Molesworth Street and South Frederick Street in Dublin city centre is in line to be demolished and replaced by a more spacious block under a new planning application submitted to Dublin City Council.

The Irish Property Unit Trust, which owns and manages 58 primarily freehold properties for pension funds and charities, has sought permission to replace the five-storey Molesworth Building and the Frederick Building extending to 7,896sq m (84,990sq ft) with a four-storey block that will have a gross floor area of 12,733sq m (137,055sq ft).

The redevelopment is expected to cost in excess of €30 million.

A spokeswoman for the Office of Public Works said the lease on the Passport Office expires towards the end of next year and it was currently assessing the suitability of other sites in the city centre. It intends to locate the new office in a State-owned property, if one can be identified, to avoid entering into another lease. The current rent for the Passport Office is €529,221 a year.

The planning application describes the existing building as a “bland, characterless and undistinguised” structure of machine-made brick which did not fit in with the surrounding buildings. The proposed replacement would use brick and stone with “vertical stone fins” and “projecting stone sills” to recall the patterns of the white-painted Georgian window reveals. The new development would fit more sympathically with the surrounding Georgian buildings, the applicants claim.

The facade of the new block will be no higher than the current building, which “fails to meet modern occupier requirements”, according to one source.

Shallow height
The source said the potential to carry out an effective refurbishment was compromised by the existing shallow floor-to-ceiling heights of 3m. This is significantly less than the standard 3.75m to 4m height.

Under plans prepared by Henry J Lyons Architects, the new building will, like the present block, have a double basement car park to cater for 34 private car spaces and 58 public car spaces.

There will also be 128 bicycle parking spaces and two motorbike spaces.

The new building will have a terrace setback at fourth- and fifth-floor levels along Molesworth Street, South Frederick Street and Setanta Place.

It will also have a terrace at fifth-floor level at the corner of Molesworth Street and South Frederick Street.