From todayâ€™s Times:
Developer Jim Mansfield yesterday revealed revised plans for his controversial convention centre at City West on the outskirts of the capital located next to his flagship 4 star, 725 bedroom City West Hotel. Describing the design for the centre as â€œinnovative and uniqueâ€, the developer settled upon a hybrid of styles, with influences ranging from the French Baroque the Palace of Versailles to The Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square.
However the conference centre is but one element of a much larger scheme which was unveiled with great pomp and ceremony in City West yesterday.
Most controversial is a landmark 13 storey office tower planned adjacent to the centre which An Taisce have announced they intend to object to, describing its height as â€œexcessiveâ€. They also characterise the design of the structure as â€œgimmickyâ€ and â€œutilitarianâ€, in particular citing the use of grey concrete as cladding for the tower which they claim is out of character with the established vernacular of yellow ABS plastic brick. Complete with roof-top air conditioning plants and associated ancillary services, the tower rises to some 49m, just 11m short of Liberty Hall according to an An Taisce spokesperson, adding, â€œIt is arrogant in the extremeâ€.
A 20,000 space multi-storey car park is also planned, which by established convention in Ireland is actually larger than the conference centre itself. This is expected to be the primary attraction of the whole complex and hence will be fitted out to the highest standards.
The other flagship element to the scheme is a sports and leisure complex next to the centre which can be converted to accommodate larger displays and exhibitions. By virtue of the international clients expected to be attracted to the centre, it was decided an architect would be needed for this phase of the project.
A striking piece of contemporary architecture, it makes use of an innovative structural steel system developed in Sweden and features the largest unsupported roof-span in Ireland. However Mr Mansfield does concede that unlike the hotel, it may not be â€˜everyoneâ€™s cup of teaâ€™.
Although yet to be built, a proposed Luas line is included in the plans running along the eastern side of the site. The developer is confident that the line will be under construction by the time the complex opens. It is planned to arrive at the site by running down the median of the M50. An ambitious high density, high rise, two storey apartment development is proposed next to the line. It is difficult to anticipate how the Irish market will react to this radical new form of living.
Finally an exotic new main street entitled â€˜Palm Driveâ€™ is planned for the complex, lined with offices and apartments. There is expected to be high demand as Spar, Centra, Super Valu and Mace have already snapped up all retail units in the development.