Perhaps I am just a snob
Mono-use areas are an increasing problem. Henry Street may be a successful retail street but there is precious little else there. No restaurants worth the mention, limited cafes, limited bars,
GrahamH wrote:Aha - Stephen's eyes have been assaulted by the new Polish supermarket opposite St. Mary's Church! Did ya ever see the like in all your days? Any other European city and this would be a quaint historic church surrounded by a civic square, little cafés and provisions shops and a daily on-street flower market. Here, we get a redundant roadway - newly paved specifically to make it more redundant - an industrially-railed off church curtilage crowded with commercial tat, a Polish supermarket straddling at least two historic properties forming the setting with newly mauled upper facades, and a fascia board ya can see from outer space!
The signage relating to any commercial ground floor use should be contained within the fascia board of the shopfront. The lettering employed should be either on the fascia, or consist of individually mounted solid letters mounted on the fascia. The size of the lettering used should be in proportion to the depth of the fascia board.
Signage internal to the premises, including interior suspended advertising panels, which obscures views into the shop or business and creates dead frontage onto the street shall not normally be permitted.
Corporate signs will only be permitted where they are compatible with the character of the building, its materials and colour scheme and those of adjoining buildings.
Advertisements and signs relating to uses above ground floor level should generally be provided at the entrance to the upper floors, in a form and design which does not detract from or impinge upon the integrity of the ground floor shopfronts, or other elevational features of the building
Shopfronts sponsored by commercial brands will generally not be permitted
Proposals for signage shall have regard to Dublin City Council’s Shopfront Design Guide, 2001 and the O’Connell Street Area Shopfront Design Guidelines, 2003, where appropriate
All proposals for shopfronts shall have regard to the guidelines for illuminated signs as set out in Appendix 25 of this plan
Mermaid Cafe owner criticises rent practices
THE OWNERS of the defunct Mermaid Cafe and Gruel restaurants in Dublin have hit out at the “short-sighted” behaviour of landlords, which they say will force many city traders out of business and ruin the character of the capital.
Mark Harrell and Ben Gorman, who first opened the Mermaid Cafe on Dame Street in 1996, said the principal reason for the closure of the two restaurants was “the intransigence of landlords who still demand boom-time rents with their upward-only review mechanisms still in place”.
The award-winning Mermaid and its more casual sister restaurant Gruel ceased trading on December 23rd, having managed to secure only a “tiny” reduction in rent from its landlady. The company behind them is now in liquidation, with the loss of 30 jobs. Mr Harrell said “part of the fabric of Temple Bar” was now gone.
“I fear for Dublin if this is the way the culture is going to go. It will just become temporary traders and boarded-up shops,” Mr Harrell said.
It will be “a very busy year” for restaurant closures in the city, he predicted, with levels of custom during January and February – traditionally quiet for the industry – likely to force several traders out.
“It will be the small, interesting restaurants that go. It’s not going to be the Starbucks and the McDonald’s. But then what’s left? Where’s the interest? Where’s the joy?”
The combined rent on the two restaurants at 68 and 69 Dame Street was €190,000. When Mr Harrell and Mr Gorman opened the Mermaid, at number 69, in 1996, the rent was £15,000.
At their peak, the restaurants employed 45 people. The owners cut back to a core group of 30 after the slowdown in consumer spending led to an initial drop of business of 25 per cent. At one point, trade was down 40 per cent.
The restaurants were also affected by a lack of custom during the snowy weather at the start of 2010 and the lack of visitors to Dublin in April 2010 when flights were suspended due to volcanic dust. Extreme weather conditions before Christmas saw a further dramatic fall-off in trade.
Although this was the “final nail”, the main reason for the closures was the failure of the rent negotiations, Mr Harrell said.
The lease on the premises featured now-banned upward-only rent review clauses. The Government has passed legislation prohibiting these clauses in new leases but this has not helped the thousands bound by the old contracts.
Mr Harrell is now living in Britain, while Mr Gorman is moving to Spain. Although the restaurant game was “a struggle at the best of times”, Mr Harrell said if he was “20 years younger” he would consider getting involved again. “But I certainly wouldn’t do it in Dublin.”
John Brereton buys West of Grafton Street
DUBLIN jewellers John Brereton have bought the former West jewellers shop at 33 Grafton Street, Dublin 2 for almost €5 million. The vendor was businessman Joe Moran of housebuilders Manor Park Homes.
West of Grafton Street was one of the longest established firms in the State. It originally opened in Capel Street in 1720, relocated to College Green in 1845, later to 102 Grafton Street where River Island now trades and in 1965 it opened in its current premises at the junction of Grafton Street and South Anne Street.
The four-storey over basement building is in need of considerable upgrading. It has an overall floor area of 194sq m (2,088sq ft) including 55sq m (535sq ft) on the ground floor. The new owners plan to use three floors as retail space possibly including the first floor area of 33.2sq m (360sq ft) and the basement which extends to 35.3sq m (380sq ft).
John Brereton Jewellers also has a long tradition of trading in Dublin having been set up in Capel Street in 1916. It also has shops in O’Connell Street and Chatham Street. Lisa McGrane of Jones Lang LaSalle handled the sale.
StephenC wrote:Here's a snap of the less than desireous shopfront on Mary Street. A prime pitch on the city's premier retail street should be aspiring to a lot better than this. The window transfers seem to be obligatory.
An Taisce submission to Dublin City Council over "cheap garish signage" highlights a number of premises in the capital's historic core including Charlie's 3 Chinese takeawayIn this section »
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THE HISTORIC core of Dublin city is becoming a blackspot of “cheap garish signage” and “lower-order shops” because of Dublin City Council’s failure to enforce planning laws, An Taisce has said.
The national heritage trust has lodged a complaint with the council which it said was guilty of “reckless neglect” of the city centre by not taking action against unauthorised shopfronts and signage, and in some cases allowing businesses to operate for years without planning permission.
Businesses had erected without permission signs which clearly did not comply with city council regulations for shop fronts, yet the council had not ordered their removal, An Taisce said. However, in a number of cases the council had refused permission for signs but businesses had not removed them, yet they were not being pursued by the council.
Poor quality shopfronts was an increasing problem city-wide, An Taisce said, but was most pronounced in the historic core on streets of major civic and architectural importance.
“The main thoroughfares immediately south of the Liffey – Westmoreland Street, Dame Street, Parliament Street and the South Quays – are becoming a blackspot of lower-order shops and fast-food restaurants with cheap, garish shopfronts and signage,” the submission said.
The recession was creating a big increase in closure and vacancy rates, and a proliferation of discount shops. In this environment, increased vigilance was needed to uphold standards and prevent major deterioration in streets, An Taisce said. “Instead, there seems to be no planning enforcement in operation at all.”
Westmoreland Street had seen the most severe deterioration of any city-centre street in recent years, in the wake of the closure of Bewley’s in 2004, it said. The west side of the street had “descended into an appalling collection of low-order shops competing with each other for signage clutter, while there were significant stretches of dead frontage on the east side”.
It highlighted a number of premises on Westmoreland Street breaking shopfront regulations including Supermac’s, which had been refused permission for certain signage and alterations made to the shopfront in October 2009 and Charlie’s 3 Chinese takeaway, which had been refused permission for its shopfront and to operate as a fast-food restaurant in 2005, yet remained open.
Managing director of Supermac’s, Pat McDonagh, said the signs referred to by An Taisce were temporary and Supermac’s was in the process of applying to the council for permanent projecting signs needed to attract customers. “An Taisce musn’t know there’s a recession – without these signs, which are less garish and more delicate than the flat signs, people could walk by and not even know we’re there.”
The owner of Charlie’s 3 was not available yesterday.
Among the premises An Taisce highlighted on Dame Street was a Spar shop which had in September 2009 been refused permission to retain certain aspects of its front window design but which remained in place. In a statement the company said it took its responsibilities in relation to planning very seriously and worked closely with the authorities in relation to its stores.
Parliament Street had started to “go downhill” in the last 18 months, An Taisce said. One fastfood restaurant, Mezza, had been ordered by the council to remove its illuminated signs by August 2010 but had not done so. Owner Eileen Monaghan yesterday said she had received no such notification from the council and was unaware of any complaints.
The council said the submission from An Taisce would be investigated and “where appropriate enforcement action will be taken”.
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 58966.html