Dunne told to redesign proposal for D4 hotel site

 

A FURTHER redesign, including a reduction in height and scale, of developer Seán Dunne’s plans for the former Jurys/Berkeley Court hotels in Ballsbridge, Dublin, has been sought by An Bord Pleanála.

The planning authority has written to Mr Dunne’s planning consultants, Tom Phillips and Associates, advising that it was concerned the plans could result in an overdevelopment of the site, which would have an adverse effect on the surrounding buildings and streets and on potential future residents of the development.

Several changes including reductions in height and footprint of the development are “necessary” to enable the board to make its decision, the letter said.

The board has set a deadline of April 6th for receipt of the revised plans.

The plans for 568 residential units, a 135-bedroom hotel, retail units, bars and restaurants including a 15-storey tower, were approved by Dublin City Council last August, but were appealed to An Bord Pleanála by several local residents and An Taisce.

The revised design is already significantly scaled back from Mr Dunne’s original plans for the seven-acre site which he bought for €450 million in 2005 in one of the biggest property deals in the history of the State.

He had initially applied in 2007 for a complex which included more than 27,000sq m of retail space, 42,000sq m of offices, an embassy block, and 536 apartments, as well as a 37-storey tower, in order to realise the value of the site.

Those plans were partially approved by the city council but were ultimately rejected by An Bord Pleanála in their entirety. In its ruling it said the planned development would constitute a “gross overdevelopment” of the site.

The latest application omits the large-scale office space and substantially reduces the amount of retail units. However, the board is seeking an overall reduction in scale of the development and an increase in open space. The “anchor” retail unit should be reduced in size from 3,329sq m to no more than 2,000sq m.

The 15-storey tower in block 10 should be “removed” and another 14-storey tower reduced to 11 storeys.

The board is seeking a reduction in the number of floors of apartments in order to maximise the penetration of light. It is also seeking the redesign of several blocks, including the hotel, to increase the amount of open space.

The board earlier this month rejected Mr Dunne’s separate plans for an office complex at the AIB Bankcentre in Ballsbridge. The board said the 41,500sq m office and shopping development was too big and would adversely affect the RDS and residents of neighbouring streets.

AIB sold part of the Bankcentre to Mr Dunne’s Mountbrook Group for €207 million in 2006, but remained as tenants.