Garda Dublin region HQ planned near Heuston Station
Development plan comes after OPW secures six-year lease extension on Harcourt St HQ
The planned new Garda premises, which still has to be designed, would be close to the national Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park. Photograph: Frank Miller
The Office of Public Works plans to develop a new Dublin region Garda headquarters on a site near Heuston Station, after securing a six-year lease extension this week on its present location on Harcourt Street.
The OPW confirmed that lease extension has settled a legal dispute between the agency, which manages the State’s property portfolio and requirements, and the owners of the Harcourt Square complex, Hibernia Reit. The Dublin-listed property company had been looking for vacant possession of the four blocks, where about 500 Garda staff are based, as the last of the existing leases ran out this year.
Hibernia Reit said in a stock exchange announcement on Tuesday that it had agreed a new six-year lease with the OPW on the premises, which also house the national Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, the Special Detective Unit and the Emergency Response Unit, from January.
The deal includes a 22 per cent increase in rent to €6 million a year for the offices, car-parking and ancillary facilities.
“In the intervening period, it is proposed to develop a replacement facility for Harcourt Square at a State-owned site near Heuston Station,” a spokeswoman for the OPW said, adding that the new six-year lease on Harcourt Street means that here will be no need to find alternative accommodation in the interim.
It is understood that the envisaged location is a site on Military Road where planning permission recently expired for a 32-storey residential tower. The apartment scheme was originally announced by Tom Parlon, then minister of state with responsibility for the OPW, in 2003, before the property market crash.
The planned new Garda premises, which still has to be designed, would be close to the national Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park.
Colm Lauder, an analyst at Goodbody Stockbrokers, said in a note to clients this week that the extended lease on Harcourt Square “brings to end a legal saga that looked likely to end in court, presenting further risk for both sides”.
Hibernia Reit said in its annual report in May that the OPW had applied to the Circuit Court seeking a statutory extension of leases on the Harcourt Square complex, where leases across the four blocks had either already expired or were due to run out by the end of this year. Separately, Hibernia initiated legal action in July to gain access to common areas of the property, as it sought to carry out some preparatory work on the site.
The OPW has leased the four blocks since the 1980s. Hibernia Reit, which acquired the properties last year for €70 million, has since obtained planning permission to redevelop the 1.9-acre site to more than double existing office space to 26,000sq m (280,000q ft).