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Dublin: 12 °C Friday 15 February, 2019
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A former landmark pub in Blackrock is set to become a Dunnes Stores

The sit of the Playwright pub has been vacant since 2011.

The site is located on Newtownpark Avenue.
The site is located on Newtownpark Avenue.
Image: Google Maps

DUNNES STORES IS planning to open a new store in the former Playwright pub on Blackrock’s Newtownpark Avenue after submitting plans to the local council.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has received applications to put Dunnes signage on the building as well as new air conditioning systems.

The Playwright had been a landmark pub in the area before it closed and was turned into a TGI Friday’s restaurant by Ciaran and Colum Butler, who also own the Starbucks franchise in Ireland.

That restaurant also closed and the prominent site has been vacant since 2011 but a fresh application by Dunnes Stores has now revealed it plans for the building.

The application lists Better Value Unlimited Company as the owner of the building with Dunnes CEO Margaret Heffernan among the company’s directors.

The plans submitted last week seek permission for the erection of illuminated shop signs and also include architectural designs for the facade of the building.

PastedImage-11083 The front of the building facing Newtownpark Avenue. Source: dlrcoco.ie

Speaking about the news that a new Dunnes is expected on the site, local councillor Ossian Smyth says plans for a supermarket had been spoken about for some time.

There were lots of rumours about who might take it and I’m pretty sure that it was the Butler brothers who put in the planning application to do it up as a supermarket but they were looking for a buyer. Lidl and Aldi they have their own designs and they like that particular format and they tend not to design an existing building.

“Nobody wants a vacant site in the middle of their area and so means a supermarket for people who live there. The people who live on Newtownpark Avenue, they would have to go to Blackrock for shopping or they’d have to go to Stillorgan.”

Smyth adds that while he welcomes the news that Dunnes is investing in the area, he says that the company has other vacant sites in nearby Dún Laoghaire that are “hurting the town”.

“I’d be happy if they want to come in and talk to me, I’d talk to them, but if we’re not seeing anything more I’m going to be looking to effectively charging them rates on their empty properties, which they use to get a pass on. Which is fine if you’re waiting a year or two and you’re deciding on what to do, but you can’t leave a building for a decade,” he says.

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Rónán Duffy

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