Tourism body claim 13-storey apartment block 'will compromise Guinness storehouse experience'

Tourism body claim 13-storey apartment block 'will compromise Guinness storehouse experience'

A national tourism body has claimed that an apartment development containing a 13-storey block will compromise the visitor experience and views from the Gravity Bar in the Guinness Storehouse.

Last month, one of the country’s largest builders, Patrick Crean's Marlet Property Group lodged plans for 10-year planning permission to construct 550 ‘build to rent’ apartments in five blocks at Grand Canal Harbour at Grand Canal Place at Dublin 8.

The towers planned for the Liberties area near the Guinness brewery are to house the apartments as well as shops, restaurants, medical facilities, co-working spaces and a creche.

In response to the proposal, CEO of the Irish Tourism Industry Federation (ITIF), Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, has told Dublin City Council that the proposal “will compromise the visitor experience and views from the Gravity Bar in the Guinness Storehouse".

The ITIF is the umbrella group for the Irish tourism sector and Mr O’Mara Walsh points out that the Guinness Storehouse is Ireland’s most visited tourist attraction with 1.8 million visitors per annum.

He said: “In total last year, according to Fáilte Ireland figures, international tourists spent €2bn while visiting Dublin and the Storehouse and its Gravity Bar experience is critical to sustaining and growing this."

The highlight and focal point of the Storehouse visit is the largely unimpeded 360-degree view from the Gravity Bar and this is an important consideration to factor into any development plans around the area.

Mr O’Mara Walsh has told the Council: “To our mind, the view must be protected as much as possible and we request that the current plans be reviewed with the important tourism economy in mind.”

The ITIF CEO said that the Marlet plan is welcome in many ways in bringing much needed economic activity to Dublin 8.

Guinness owner, Diageo has also made a submission with the City Council on the plan. Consultants for Diageo have told the Council that a €20m extension to the Gravity Bar is due to open in January of next year.

The consultants, the RPS Group have asked the Council to be mindful of the views from the Gravity Bar in making its decision.

The submission states: “Key to the continued success of the Storehouse are the views from the Gravity Bar where the tour finishes. Diageo are keen to ensure that the proposed developments are cognisant of the impact the development may have on these views.

The RPS Group state: “The views from the Gravity Bar are key to the success of the Guinness Storehouse and Diageo are keen to ensure that the views are protected.”

The RPS Group state that overall the proposals are welcomed and that the new residential plan will enliven the area.

The submission points out that at further information stage that the applicants provide an additional view from the new bar in order to assess the impact of the proposed development at this viewpoint.

Documentation lodged with the plan by Marlet Group subsidiary, Atlas GP states that the impact on views from the Gravity Bar as a result of the development range from ‘significant and neutral’ and ‘slight and neutral’.

Examining one of the views from the existing Gravity Bar, the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) states that a large part of the proposed development is visible in the view and offers an opportunity to see the upper levels of the new development.

The plan by Atlas GP is seeking to supersede planning permission already secured for the lands in question.

The Council is due to make a decision on the application early next month and due to the scale of the plan is likely to request further information.

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