Receivers advised to Rethink €150m Nama-backed Boland’s Mill plans

The Irish Times reports this morning that receivers acting for Nama have been advised by Dublin City Council to rethink their €150 million plans for the redevelopment of the historic Boland’s Mill site in Dublin’s Docklands.

Mark Reynolds and Glen Crann of Savills last December lodged plans with the council for the restoration of the five original, but now derelict, mill buildings, and the construction of three new office and residential blocks.

The Nama-backed development, which includes plans for a 15-storey apartment block, is the first significant application to be made under the new fasttrack planning scheme for the Docklands. The Docklands Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) scheme, approved by An Bord Pleanála last May, allows property owners to secure construction permission from Dublin city planners which cannot be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

However the planners have raised concerns about the designs for the site, previously owned by developer Seán Kelly’s Benton Properties and a Treasury Holdings company.

The concerns largely relate to the “architectural quality” of the new residential building, which they said is not of the same standard as the two office blocks. The planners refer to the “projecting boxes” to the north and south of the “tilted element” of the residential building, which are more fragmented and broken up in their levels and height than the offices.

The roof profile “bears little relationship to the other two buildings”, and the window placement and arrangement of balconies, in particular on the east- and west-facing sides “strikes a discordant note” when viewed in the context of the offices. They acknowledge the residential use of the building generates different requirements but said more consistency was needed in the overall form and composition.

The planners also have concerns about materials used for the facades of all three buildings and asked the applicants to consider changing the finishes of some external walls.

Savills have six months to respond to the council or the application falls. The development is one of the largest proposed for Dublin since the crash and would provide almost 30,000sq m of office space for about 2,300 workers; 42 apartments; and shops, cafes, restaurants and an exhibition building.If permission is granted for the new proposal, development could be completed by the end of 2017, according to Savills.