Hawkins House to make way for €50m redevelopment

Office of Public Works and Nama-appointed receivers plan to build office ‘quarter’

Hawkins House in Dublin city centre is facing demolition, and some people can't wait for it to happen. Irish Times Culture Editor Hugh Linehan looks at the city's worst building and its equally ugly neighbours. Video: Bryan O'Brien


Plans for the demolition of Hawkins House, Apollo House, the Long Stone pub and the construction of an office scheme up to 48m tall have been lodged with Dublin City Council.

The Office of Public Works, and Nama-appointed receivers to the Apollo House and pub sites, plan to build a new office “quarter”, along with shops, restaurants, a public plaza, and a new diagonal pedestrian street, in what would be one of the largest redevelopment projects in the city centre since the boom with an estimated value of €50 million.

The development will bring to fruition the long-promised demolition of the Department of Health headquarters at Hawkins House. Built in 1962 on the site of the former Theatre Royal, Hawkins House is often cited among the ugliest buildings in the city, as is its slightly younger neighbour Apollo House, built in 1969 and until recently leased to the Department of Social Welfare.

The scheme, which takes up almost an entire city block bounded by Poolbeg Street, Tara Street, Townsend Street, and Hawkins Street where the new Cross City Luas line is under construction, is one of the first major developments sought under the city council’s 2012 George’s Quay Local Area Plan, which envisages the creation of a new “midtown” for the city south of the Liffey to Pearse Street and from Hawkins Street to Lombard Street.

Take three

Three key sites have been identified as having the potential for significant redevelopment: the Hawkins House block Poolbeg Street, Tara Street station and its surrounds; and the City Quay area from Moss Street to South Street

Of these the Hawkins House block is likely to see the most dramatic redevelopment, as unlike the other sites, almost all the buildings dating from the 1960s and 1970s are likely to be demolished.

Tom O’Brien and Simon Coyle of Mazars , receivers to Cuprum Properties Limited, one of Richard Moyles and Garrett Kelleher’s development companies, have control of Apollo House and the Long Stone, which, although on Townsend Street backs on to the car park beside Apollo House. The two other significant buildings on the site, the nine-storey former An Post buildings College House and the recently closed Screen Cinema are also likely to be redeveloped in the near future.

Greg Kavanagh and Pat Crean last year bought the 1970s College House and are understood to be in negotiations to buy the cinema.The diagonal street proposed as part of the Hawkins House application, will, according to the local area plan, eventually run all the way through the cinema to the corner of Hawkins Street and Townsend Street opening up a new direct route from College Green to Tara Street station.

Hawkins House at 12 storeys is approximately 41m tall and the new building will be 10 storeys, but because of the greater floor to ceiling heights required under current planning rules, it will be similar in height at about 40m. Apollo House will move from 10 to 12 storeys or from about 35m to 48m.

The 400 staff at Hawkins House will more to the former Bank of Ireland HQ at Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, which is currently being remodelled.