Demolition of Passport Office building approved

Former Reynard’s nightclub will also be razed

The 40-year-old office block on Molesworth Street is to be razed and replaced by a new office building. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

The 40-year-old office block on Molesworth Street is to be razed and replaced by a new office building. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 


The demolition of the 1970s Passport Office building on Dublin’s Molesworth Street has been approved by Dublin City Council.

The 40-year-old office block, which faces onto Molesworth Street and South Frederick Street, is also occupied by estate agent Jones Lang LaSalle, a pub and the former Reynard’s nightclub. It is to be razed and replaced by a new office building, expected to cost in excess of €30 million.

The Irish Property Unit Trust, which owns and manages 58 primarily freehold properties for pension funds and charities, applied to the council to replace the five-storey block known as the Setanta Centre with a six-storey block that will have a gross floor area of 12,733sq m (137,055sq ft).

Suitability
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 assessing the suitability of other sites in the city centre. It intends to locate the new office in a State-owned property, to avoid entering into another lease. The current rent for the Passport Office is €529,221 a year.

The planning application described the existing building as a “bland, characterless and undistinguished” 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 sympathetically 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”, the application said.

The potential refurbish of the existing buildings was considered as the council’s policy is that usable buildings should not in general be demolished.

However, the applicants said the existing floor-to-ceiling heights of 3m, significantly lower than the standard 3.75m to 4m height, and the poor energy performance of the structure would have caused great difficulties in the creation of a modern office environment.

Under plans prepared by Henry J Lyons Architects, the new building will have a double basement car par.

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