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Home Sweet Home campaigners outside Apollo House earlier this month Sam Boal/
Home Sweet Home

Demolition of Apollo House put on hold

Objections about plans for the site have been made to An Bord Pleanála.

THE PLANNED DEMOLITION of Apollo House in Dublin has been put on hold.

This follows objectors to the demolition and redevelopment of the 1960s office block lodging appeals with An Bord Pleanála against the decision by Dublin City Council to give the scheme the go-ahead.

Over Christmas and the New Year, the focus on the homelessness crisis centred on Apollo House after it was occupied by housing activists and homeless people in a ‘direct action’ move fronted by singer Glen Hansard and movie director Jim Sheridan.

Now, An Bord Pleanála is to decide the future of Apollo House after it confirmed yesterday that appeals have been lodged against the City Council decision by a management firm representing the nearby 66 Corn Exchange apartments and developers, Balark Investments Ltd.

The planned demolition of Apollo House is part of an overall €50 million scheme that also involves the planned demolition and redevelopment of the adjacent Hawkins House, long regarded as one of Dublin’s ugliest buildings.

The appeals board also confirmed yesterday that a third party appeal has been received, but has yet to be validated, against the decision to give the go-ahead for the redevelopment of Hawkins House which is a companion application to the Apollo House plan.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is the applicant for the redevelopment of Hawkins House while Nama appointed receiver to Cuprum Properties Ltd, Mazars is seeking to redevelop Apollo House.

The city council permission granted to the OPW allowed for a combined development of a new office “quarter”, along with shops, restaurants, a public plaza and a diagonal pedestrian street.

Not a worthy replacement 

In their objection against the redevelopment of Apollo House, the Corn Exchange residents stated that the new building by way of its massing, scale and design does not represent a worthy replacement to the existing building.

However, in response to the concerns expressed when the plan was before the city council, consultants for Cuprum reduced the height of the new block by omitting one floor from the 12-storey building and reducing its height by 13 feet to 146 feet.

The consultants also included an image showing the new Apollo House will be significantly lower in height than Liberty Hall and the MonteVetro Google Dock building.

The building’s architects, Henry J Lyons, stated: “The tallest elements of the proposal provide a significant and elegant presence underpinning the project as an important point along the proposed Civic Route as well as being a high quality Headquarter Style office building.”

Consultants for Cuprum, Brady Shipman Martin, told the city council that “the redevelopment of Apollo House represents a significant opportunity in the revitalisation of not only this city block, but a strategic positive contribution in the urban environment of the city centre”.

The second appeal against the Apollo House redevelopment is by Balark Investments, which recently purchased the nearby College House and Screen Cinema.

In their objection against the plan, Balark state the three key site locations of their own land bank, Hawkins House and Apollo House should be redeveloped together.

The objection stated that the piecemeal approach to the redevelopment of the city block has resulted in a number of inefficiencies and challenges.

The objection stated that without the integrated approach for the three sites, “there is a strong possibility that the existing situation will be repeated with three individual buildings developed with connectivity or inter-relationship”.

A decision is due on the appeals in May of this year.

Read: Home Sweet Home accuses minister of ‘U-turn’ as Anti-Evictions Bill voted down

Read: ‘This is only the start’ – The occupation has ended, but what’s next for Home Sweet Home?

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