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Tuesday 28 March 2023 Dublin: 15°C
Sasko Lazarov/ File photo - the Anglo Irish Bank HQ building in 2008
# Planning
Green light given for demolition of former Anglo-Irish Bank HQ building on St Stephen's Green
Dublin City Council has given the green light for the building of a seven storey office block in its place.

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has granted planning permission for the demolition of the building that housed the former Anglo-Irish Bank HQ on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green.

In the grant of permission to Irish Life Assurance plc subsidiary, Stephen Court Ltd, the Council has given the green light to build a seven storey office block in its place at 18-21 St Stephen’s Green.

The former Anglo-Irish Bank building also reaches to seven storeys but the gross floor area of the new scheme will be 50% more than what is currently in place rising from 14.068sq/m to 21,219sq/m.

In a submission to the Council, former Environment Editor at The Irish Times Frank McDonald stated that the building “is still generally recognised as an exemplar of contemporary architectural infill in a historic setting”… and in latter years “acquired notoriety as the headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank, the leading lender to developers at the height of the phosphorescent phase of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era”.

The Council has given the project the green light despite concerns expressed by trading and investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald and a nearby private members’ club over the impact the construction phase of the new office block will have on their own activities.

Cantor Fitzgerald has its Irish HQ next door at Cantor Fitzgerald House at 23 St Stephen’s Green.

In a strident submission, planning consultant for Cantor Fitzgerald, Ann Mulcrone told the council that the prospect of a 2.5 years to four years construction of the office block “poses a significant risk to the normal and successful trading operations” covering over 40% of Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland’s lease of its office space.

Mulcrone stated that Cantor Fitzgerald learned of the office scheme plan “with great alarm” as the firm had signed a new 10 year lease for its office space prior to the application being lodged.

Mulcrone stated that “the potential risk scenario from construction activity could lead to the need to cease trading at Cantor House and pose a requirement to relocate”.

However, Mulcrone acknowledges that Cantor Fitzgerald is ‘financially bound’ to the office space due to the 10 year lease.

Pointing to the right environmental conditions required for neurosurgeons and air traffic controllers to do their work, Mulcrone stated that “in the same manner, financial traders and advisors in Cantor Fitzgerald need to be in a position not just to do their work competently, but also to operate at a higher level concentration to secure the optimal outcomes for each of their clients”.

Mulcrone states that “the trading activity of major financial sums” at the Cantor Fitzgerald HQ “is not compatible with a four year construction programme on the adjoining site”.

Private members club, the Kildare Street and University Club (KSUB) also raised concerns over the construction impact on its operation.

The private members’ club has 1,250 members and told the council that “the club is concerned that it may be impossible to function during the period of the construction works”.

In a bid to allay the concerns of Cantor Fitzgerald and the KSUC, the applicants lodged with the council an updated ‘Construction Method Statement’.

The Council has granted planning permission despite the Council’s Conservation Division concluding that the demolition “of this architecturally significant structure is not justified”.

The Council’s planner’s report stated that “it is regrettable that an example of the distinguished architect Andy Devane’s work should be demolished but on balance given the constraints within this building it is considered that the demolition and the re-development of this site with a well-designed modern building with a simple palette of materials is acceptable in this instance”.

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