Irish Life office on hold

The Dublin offices of international legal firm Maples and Calder have put on hold plans by Irish Life to construct a €20m six-storey office block on a landmark St Stephen’s Green site.

Last month, Dublin City Council gave Irish Life the go-ahead to demolish its existing office block at Hainault House, which consultants for Irish Life described as “no longer fit for purpose”.

Irish Life has been given the go-ahead for a much larger office block in its place, which led Maples and Calder to lodge an appeal with An Bord Pleanála.

Maples and Calder occupies three floors on the adjoining office block and consultants point out that the work undertaken by Maples and Calder “is highly sensitive and confidential”.

The consultants say Maples and Calder “have significant concerns about the scale and proximity of the proposed development”.

They state that the Irish Life plan “will materially increase intrusive overlooking of the Maples and Calder offices, thereby raising the potential for breaches of confidentiality”.

The appeal, prepared by Arc Architectural Consultants Ltd, said that the Irish Life plan proposes to double the scale of development on the site.

The plan will increase the height of the building from 24.75m to 26.4m.

Maples and Calder state that while they support, in principle, the redevelopment of the site, they claim that the development constitutes a gross overdevelopment of the site and must be refused planning permission.

A spokesman for Irish Life said yesterday that the company “is disappointed” an appeal has been lodged by Maples and Calder.

The spokesperson said Irish Life continues to engage with Maples and Calder to “provide them with reassurance around their concerns” and that the proposed building is similar “in terms of height, use, density and site coverage to the two adjoining buildings” which the company feels validates the design.

He said that once full planning consents have been achieved, the development will take between 18 and 24 months to complete.

The Dublin City Council planner’s report in the case stated that the comprehensive redevelopment of the office block is considered acceptable and that the density of development would not unduly materially detract from the amenities of either adjoining properties or the character of the area.

An Bord Pleanála is due to make a decision in the case next January.


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