Gasometer hotel plan rejected
Dublin city councillors have rejected plans to turn an empty apartment block at the site of the former gasworks in Ringsend into a 520-bed hotel and to increase the size of the neighbouring Google building by more than a third.
Developer Liam Carroll, the man behind Fabrizia and one of Ireland's most prolific developers, is seeking to turn the vacant apartment building constructed inside the metal struts of the Victorian gasometer into a hotel to recoup his losses on the apartments which failed to sell.
He is also seeking to extend the floor space of the building occupied by the European headquarters of search engine Google, which is also within the 7.8-acre gasworks site, from almost 15,000sq m to 20,600sq m, although, according to local councillors, Google has not requested any extension.
Some 400 apartments in the scheme immediately adjacent to the Gasometer are occupied and councillors have recommended that the city planners refuse permission to Mr Carroll for the change to the hotel and for the extension to the Google building.
Labour councillor Kevin Humphreys said the developer was allowed to build the 210 apartments within the former gasometer with the condition that he provide 20 per cent of these for social and affordable housing.
"The council should be getting a 20 per cent share in these apartments, that is what we're entitled to." In relation to Google, "moral blackmail" had been employed to suggest that refusing planning permission for the extension would result in a loss of jobs.
"My information is that Google neither requested nor wants the additional floor space, but because of a flaw in the lease, Fabrizia is forcing Google to take the additional floor space."
DaithÃ Doolan (SF) said both applications were an "absolute disgrace" and that the area was already saturated with hotels, and the extension of the Google building would completely overshadow the neighbouring single-storey houses.
Dermot Lacey (Lab) said permission had been given for the apartments on the basis of an integrated plan for the area which never envisioned a hotel.
"This is an ill-conceived, ill-thought-out, cheap attempt to make a big profit, which is not in the interest of the local residents, not in the interest of the city and not in the interest of planning," Mr Lacey said.
Paddy McCartan (FG) said the plans were lacking in detail but appeared to suggest a hotel at the lower end of the market which would cater for "stag and hen parties and be out of kilter with the rest of the development."
Objections to the planning applications must be made to the council by February 4th.