Google office setback for developer Johnny Ronan

Dublin City Council grants permission for eight-storey building rather than 10-storey

Johnny Ronan in 2012. Photograph: Collins

Johnny Ronan in 2012. Photograph: Collins

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Developer Johnny Ronan has suffered another setback in his ongoing battle with Dublin City Council over building heights – this time in relation to a building tech giant Google hopes to occupy.

Ashleam Ltd, part of Mr Ronan’s RGRE Group, has failed to secure planning permission for a 10-storey Treasury Annex building adjacent to Treasury Building on Grand Canal Street.

Dublin City Council has instead granted planning permission for an eight-storey building on the site, expressing serious concerns that the proposed 10-storey scheme may be excessive and have an adverse visual impact.

Ashleam had proposed a compromise scheme of nine storeys to meet the council’s concerns, but the planning authority deemed this would have an overbearing impact on nearby residential buildings.

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The council acknowledged that the Ashleam scheme would contribute to employment in the area and will facilitate high-quality office accommodation.

Google Ireland has earmarked the Annex building to accommodate 600 workers as part of its wider campus around the Treasury building, where it intends to accommodate 1,700 workers in total.

Google plan

Google Ireland currently has its own planning application before the council to increase the height of the Treasury Building from six to eight storeys in a scheme named Boland’s Bakery.

Planning documents lodged by Google Ireland for its scheme states that “while the future landscape of workplaces is uncertain, Google Ireland is fully committed to this exemplar redevelopment that reuses the old, imagines the new and seeks to set the standard for future offices in Ireland”.

However, Clanwilliam Management CLG has objected to the Google plan, which would increase the building’s floor area from 13,131sq m to 20,933sq m, citing the ruling on the Annex building.

Downey Planning, consultants for Clanwilliam, argues the proposal “would also present an overdevelopment of the site which would have an overbearing effect upon the occupants of Clanwilliam Square”.

The council is due to make a decision on the Google application later this month.