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Trader bids to block €100m St Stephen’s Green shopping centre redevelopment |



A trader at the St Stephen’s Shopping Centre in Dublin has made a bid to block contentious plans for the €100 million redevelopment of the centre.

This follows St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre tenant, Emmett Rogers, lodging an appeal to An Bord Pleanála against Dublin City Council’s grant of permission to Davy entity, DTDL Ltd for the redevelopment.

In his appeal, Mr Rogers has told the appeals board that if the redevelopment proceeds “I see Dublin losing another bit of its unique identity to developers”.

Mr Rogers has been operating the Tribe outlet at the St Stephen’s Green shopping centre since 1992.

In the appeal, Mr Rogers states that he is “horrified” that the Council has granted planning permission to the mixed use scheme.

Mr Rogers’s appeal is one of three lodged with the appeals board in connection to the appeal. An Taisce and former Environment Editor at The Irish Times, Frank McDonald, have also lodged appeals.

In his appeal, Mr Rogers said that the proposal involves the demolition of the facade of the shopping centre.

He said: “Over the years and massively over the past few weeks, customers always compliment the ‘look’ of the shopping centre. When the plans were first released to the public the reaction was very negative.

Mr Rogers said that “the main comment seemed to be that it will now look like any shopping centre in Europe – a glass box”.

Mr Rogers said that he does agree that the centre needs development “but I think that what is suggested is too severe”.

He said that “internally, it needs work, but people still come in on a daily basis to take old photos of the beautiful interior of the shopping centre and the iconic clock”.

Mr Rogers says that as a tenant, the plans state that it will take two years to complete the project and during this time, all tenants will have to vacate.

He said that “I feel that this is very unfair and if redeveloped in sections, tenants could relocate within the centre during this time.

Mr Rogers said that the disruption to the area and to other retailers will be huge and retail really is at a crossroads with many on the edge.

He said: “Let’s not let this development be the one that pushes these over the edge.”

The An Taisce appeal, jointly signed off by Dublin City planning officer, Kevin Duff and heritage officer, Ian Lumley, has stated that the predominantly large office development “lacks architectural sensitivity towards St Stephen’s Green and results in the loss of an impressive naturally lit space”.

In his appeal, Frank McDonald has told the appeals board that what is proposed to replace the existing  St Stephen’s Green shopping centre “is simply not good enough and does not qualify as a building of ‘exceptional design and outstanding architectural quality”.

In recommending a grant of permission, a 51-page City Council planner’s report concluded that “the proposed reductions to the scale and massing of the building significantly reduces the visual impact on this sensitive environment”.

The planner’s report acknowledged that the existing shopping centre is a local landmark, but this was not due to the quality of its architecture and stated that the shopping centre is not a Protected Structure.

The largest component of the new scheme is office use providing for 35,043 sq metres of offices and ancillary spaces and the applicants increased the level of retail and Food & Beverage space after the Council expressed concerns.

An architectural design statement drawn up by architects for the ambitious plan, BKD architects stated that since opening in 1988, the St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre has faced many difficulties in attracting sustainable retailers.

The report stated that these include that most unit sizes are too small and the smaller shop units particularly those at the upper levels trade poorly and can operate only on short-term leases.

Planning consultants for the scheme, John Spain & Associates told the Council that the existing building “has become outdated” and the proposal seeks to enhance a high quality shopping centre and office facility on a centrally located site.

Mr Spain argues that the proposal represents a significant rejuvenation of a key site at the gateway to Dublin’s south retail core.

The report states that the St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre “is currently underperforming in its retail function and the proposal through the provision of medium-sized units, which are currently in demand by higher order retailers, has the potential to significantly improve the retail offering in the area.”

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