Concerns over plans for Dublin’s tallest apartment block

Proposed building is taller than one refused planning permission on same site last year

A projection of how the new building would look. Councillors and officials  questioned the wisdom of building so many small apartments for the rental market.

A projection of how the new building would look. Councillors and officials questioned the wisdom of building so many small apartments for the rental market.

 

Concerns have emerged over plans for a 30 storey build-to-rent scheme opposite Heuston Station, in Dublin which would be the city’s tallest apartment block.

Ruirside Developments, a part of developer Joe O’Reilly’s Castlethorn and Chartered Land Group, was last year refused permission for a 29 storey block of 160 apartments on the former Hickey’s site on Parkgate Street opposite the station.

The developer is now seeking to add a storey to the block and increase the total number of apartments to 198, almost all of which would be studio or one-bedroom units, with 27 two-beds and one three-bed apartment.

At 98.4 metres (323ft) the tower would become the tallest apartment building in Dublin. Kennedy Wilson’s Capital Dock development is currently the city’s tallest residential scheme at 22 storeys (79m/259ft).

The plans were presented to Dublin city councillors on Monday whenconcerns were raised about the height, design and the large number of small, build-to-rent apartments.

Green Party councillor Michael Pidgeon said height was appropriate for the site but the building was “ugly” he said.

‘It should look a bit better’

“I just think it’s an ugly looking building and it’s going to be at the end of the Liffey. If we are going to do the landmark building thing it should look a bit better, and it doesn’t.”

He also questioned the wisdom of having so many small apartments. Studios will account for 73 of the apartments with further 97one-beds.

“I don’t think we should be building any home that’s 37 or 38 or 39 square metres. Forty square metres was the minimum we set. That’s a minimum, that’s not a great place to make a life for a long time.”

Independent councillor Vincent Jackson said he was worried the tower would age badly. “Aesthetically it doesn’t look great,” he said.

“It is located right next door to the most beautiful of all the public buildings we have, Heuston Station, what a fantastic legacy that the British left us. They didn’t leave us many good ones but that was one of the beautiful ones.”

He said he was concerned the tower would become “shabby” and “dwarf” the station and surrounding buildings. “You would hope we are not putting a blight on the city’s streetscape.”

Sinn Féin councillor Janice Boylan asked why the developer was seeking a 30-storey tower, following the refusal of 29 storeys.

Council planner Kieran Sweeney said the previous building had not been refused because of its height, but because of “its design” and “the architectural quality and materials” he said. “The zoning does allow for buildings of this height.”

However, he said the planning department was concerned about the lack of family apartments in this, and other developments in the city.

“There may be a place for some build to rent in the city centre, but it’s the fact that the majority of the schemes that are coming in are all build to rent,” he said “We have serious concerns down the line about the transient nature of some of these communities that’s going to come about. People aren’t going to live in these developments for ever, there’s no way. They are too small and they don’t allow for families.”

An Bord Pleanála is due to make a decision on the application by October.