Green light for plan to build Dublin’s tallest office block

Permission granted for 73 metre €80m Nama-funded Exo structure at Point Village

Plans for Dublin's tallest office block, a 73m-tall (240ft) building at the Point Village at the northside entrance to the city's docklands, have been granted permission by Dublin City Council.

The building, called the Exo in reference to its “exoskeleton” external supporting structure, will be built on the site of what was to be Ireland’s tallest building, Harry Crosbie’s “Watchtower”, which at 120m would have been the same height as the Spire in O’Connell Street.

The foundations of the Watchtower were laid but it was never built and the site subsequently came under the control of the National Asset Management Agency.

The €80 million Nama-funded Exo building will be significantly taller than any of the existing docklands offices built in recent years, including the 67m Montevetro building owned by Google on Barrow Street. It will also be almost a third taller than the 1960s Liberty Hall.


High-rise buildings

The site is one of the few in Dublin where high-rise buildings are permitted, but the Exo is not the tallest building planned for the docklands. Directly across the river Kennedy Wilson was last October granted permission for Capital Dock, a combined residential and office development at the corner of Sir John Rogerson’s Quay and Britain Quay, which will have a 79m-tall apartment block.

Joint receivers Stephen Tennant and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton, acting on instruction from Nama, were granted permission for the Exo under the council’s fast-track planning process for the docklands.

The docklands strategic development zone (SDZ), approved by An Bord Pleanála in 2014, allows property owners secure construction permission from Dublin city planners which cannot be referred to the planning appeals authority.

Under the SDZ scheme the applicants could have sought permission for a taller building on the Exo site. The scheme allows for a 22-storey (about 88m) building at the Point Village site. The Exo building at 73m will be 17 storeys tall.

The building, designed by Irish architectural practice Shay Cleary Architects, will have the capacity to accommodate 2,000 workers. It is expected to take about two years to build, with the creation of more than 350 construction jobs.

Savills and CBRE, joint letting agents for the development, said they expect strong demand for the offices.

The Exo is just one of several Nama-backed projects planned for the docklands development zone. The State agency has an interest in about 75 per cent of the land governed by the SDZ.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times