Proposed 13-storey build-to-rent Prussia Street tower ‘monstrous’

Randelswood Construction wants to build 107 one-bed, 53 two-bed and two three-bed units

A proposed 13-storey build-to-rent tower beside the Grangegorman TUD campus in has been branded a "monstrosity" and the work of a "madman" by Dublin city councillors.

Randelswood Construction Ltd, part of the McGrath group, is seeking permission for 162 apartments at a site on Prussia Street, which was at the centre of protests last October when alleged squatters were ordered to vacate the land.

The company wants to build 107 one-bed, 53 two-bed and two three-bed apartments in a block ranging from three to 13 storeys. The application was made directly to An Bord Pleanála using the Strategic Housing Development system which comes to an end later this month.

The plans were presented to local councillors on Tuesday.

Labour's Joe Costello said Prussia Street was a "very fine street" that had been allowed to "degenerate enormously" over the years.

“What we needed here was a very careful sensitive infill development, not a monstrosity that stands out like a sore thumb and dominates all the surrounding streets,” he said.

“It’s an ugly structure standing on its own, out of kilter with everything else. There’s no sympathy with the area at all. It’s a monstrosity in terms of its scale, its height, and its massing.”

Sinn Féin Cllr Janice Boylan said build to rent was a "fundamentally flawed model" and would do nothing to sustain the local community.

“The height and scale of this development in the area it’s in, it is just absolutely monstrous,” she said. “It literally is like a madman drew the plans and it’s just disgraceful.”

However, Fine Gael Cllr Ray McAdam said he was not against the type of development envisaged. “I think build-to-rent will provide as we move forward an increased supply and therefore help to bring down market rents.”

Council planner Claire Sheehan said the planning department shared councillors' concerns about the height and scale of the development.

The McGrath group did not respond to requests for comment.

Traffic ban

Meanwhile, part of Capel Street will have to be kept open to traffic to facilitate a new €6.5 million pedestrian plaza beside the Ha’penny bridge, councillors have been told.

Three years ago, the council proposed a traffic ban on Liffey Street Lower, between Strand Street and the quays, to create the civic plaza

Traffic on Abbey Street, including cars exiting the Arnotts car park, would no longer be able to access the quays via Liffey Street Lower, but would instead have to turn right into Strand Street and continue to Capel Street to reach the quayside at Grattan Bridge.

However, since then as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the council implemented trial pedestrianisation measures on Capel Street, and last summer banned traffic from the street from 6.30pm to 11.30pm at weekends.

A subsequent public consultation process found almost 80 per cent were in favour of pedestrianising Capel Street on a permanent basis.

On Tuesday senior council engineer Joe Kelly told councillors the section of Capel Street between Strand Street and the quays "has to be kept open" to traffic. "In relation to the pedestrianisation of Capel Street that is the impact it has."

Work on the Liffey plaza is due to start in May and will continue for 12 months, said Mr Kelly.

Councillors will next week be briefed on the options for Capel Street, which will take in the requirements of the Liffey plaza scheme.