Dublin city centre is set to get its first new cinema in many years after plans for a new two-screen facility in Dawson Street have been given the green light.
Dublin City Council has granted planning permission for the change of use of a basement area of the landmark building One Molesworth Street, which also houses the Ivy restaurant, to a cinema.
It will be the location for the first expansion into the Irish market by UK boutique cinema chain Everyman, which operates 92 screens across 28 cinemas in Britain.
The company offers cinema-goers the opportunity of drinking wine and beer and eating hot food such as pizza while watching a movie.
The Dawson Street cinema will contain two small auditoriums with a capacity for 72 and 51 respectively.
The local authority had sought further information from Green Reit, the landlord, about its plans for the soundproofing of the building after council planners had raised concerns about the impact of noise and vibrations from the proposed cinema.
The council ruled the use of the basement as a cinema was permissible under the zoning of the area.
While the loss of a basement retail space was regrettable, the council said it did not merit refusing the application for a change of use.
The Irish business partner in Marco Pierre White’s Dublin restaurant had expressed concern about plans to develop the new cinema near its outlet on Dawson Street.
The owner of Fitzer's catering group, Paddy Fitzpatrick, questioned if the development of a cinema would have a negative impact on the daytime vibrancy of the area.
In a submission to the city council, Mr Fitzpatrick said: "The loss of retail use on Dawson Street is a concern in the context of the objective to promote Dawson Street as a secondary retail street within the retail core area and a vital connection and link to Grafton Street."
However, Green Reit said it had been marketing a vacant retail unit over two levels including a basement in One Molesworth Street for the past three years but had not been successful in finding a tenant.
The company said it had become clear that there was no market demand for a retail unit over two levels but that it had now identified a likely occupant for the ground-floor section, which will be next to the entrance to the cinema.
Everyman said it expects to achieve about 1,000 admissions to the cinema per week. “The Everyman cinema offer is likened more to a theatre experience than a multiplex cinema experience,” it said.
No restrictions on opening hours have been put in place as part of the grant of planning permission.
Green Reit said such a restriction would have been “unnecessary and unreasonable” as Everyman plans to operate matinées, special screenings and late night shows.
“The proposed daytime, evening and night-time use of the premises will complement the existing range of uses in the Dawson Street area of the city centre,” it added.
The most recent cinema openings in Dublin city centre were in 2012, when the Light House reopened at a new venue in Smithfield, and the Odeon opened for business at Point Square in the docklands.