Five-storey modern block for Dawson Street

Demolition of 1970s office/retail building at Dawson-Molesworth Street under way

 
Demolition of a dated 1970s office and retail building at the junction of Dawson Street and Molesworth Street in Dublin city centre has begun in preparation for its replacement by a high-quality two-dimensional block. Green Reit is due to spend close to €30 million on developing a

five-storey over double basement modern building after buying the existing premises for €23 million.

The company is expected to spend almost three months on the demolition work which follows the dismissal by An Bord Pleanála of an objection by An Taisce against the replacement of the present block by “an oversized, aggrandised and unnecessary statement building”.

No one is denying that the planned building, to be known as One Molesworth Street and designed by Henry J Lyons, will be radically different to the old headquarters of the Royal and Sun Alliance.

The Dawson Street frontage will provide a fitting entrance to 2,145sq m (23,089sq ft) of retail facilities at ground and lower-ground level with a distinctive street frontage featuring vertical glass fins, solid bronze and a distinctive bronze anodised brisle soleil.

In comparison, the Molesworth Street façade will be finished with high-quality natural stone and glass featuring an attractive double-height reception area for the 6,611sq m (71,159sq ft) of offices.

The fourth and penthouse floors will have dedicated terrace areas with panoramic views over the city centre.

Number One Molesworth Street is due to be ready for tenant fit out about the middle of 2017. The expectation is that office space should rent at over €538 a sq m (€50 a sq ft)

The retail floors could be let to a single tenant or they could be subdivided. Like the retail area, the offices have been designed to deliver maximum flexibility with bright expansive floor plates featuring floor-to-ceiling glazing on all four sides of the building.

There will be a floor-to-ceiling height of 2.8m with column-free spaces of 42m and 45m to accommodate layouts across the professional, technology and legal sectors. Green Reit says the column-free spans will be a first in the Dublin office market.

The new block will have 27 car-parking spaces.

The redevelopment of the site will coincide with the opening of two new Luas stops close by on Dawson Street, according to Paul Culhane, development director of Green. He says plans to ban cars from the Molesworth/Dawson/Nassau Street enclave will strengthen the area as a retail pitch.

CBRE is to handle the letting of both the office and retail elements of the new building. The agency’s office agent, Alan Moran, says the cutting-edge design, the prime location and the established developer profile makes One Molesworth Street a “highly desirable opportunity.

The agency’s retail specialist Simon Cooper says the retail element would offer a “major mid-sized unit”in the heart of the city and would appeal to a host of international brands which were seeking flagship stores in the city.

The planned development is next to two New Ireland office buildings which were earmarked for sale during the property boom but which never reached the market. They had been expected to make well in excess of €60 million and had attracted the attention of a number of ambitious Dublin-based developers who had made handsome profits from the buoyant housing market.

The block now to be developed by Green Reit was previously bought in 2005 by Garret Kelleher’s Shelbourne Developments for €63.5 million. The funding was provided by Anglo Irish Bank.

Also on Molesworth Street, Green Reit is developing a further 2,787sq m (30,000sq ft) of office space at the rear of three of the four adjoining listed buildings it bought last December for about €13 million.

The upgrading and extension is largely based on the former Savills head office at number 32, where a new three-storey glazed atrium and a basement car park are to be developed along with three of the four houses backing on to Schoolhouse Lane. Green is expected to spend about €10 million on upgrading and extending No. 32 and providing a new block at the rear.

The four buildings were originally acquired during the property boom by a four-man consortium headed by investor Derek Quinlan. They were sold almost a year ago by the Danske Bank-appointed receivers Grant Thornton.

A third development project by Green Reit is a new 1,412sq m (152,000sq ft) office block at Central Park in Sandyford. Pimco, the private banking company, has a 50 per cent stake in Block H, which which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2017.