Shopfront race to the bottom

Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Devin » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:12 pm

Oops, that planning reference number link doesn't work. This is the correct one: 3701/07

Passed by the Smiles on O'Connell Street at the weekend and its signage is really not that bad at all - by no means garish. It just needs a holistic treatment with the building.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby GrahamH » Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:24 pm

Ah now Devin - that was a rather ridiculous proposal that was invasive to boot. Just plain silly looking. Typically, the colour wasn't declared in the application either, other than the giant apple would have an 'enamel finish'.

The new unauthorised signage on the columns is cheap and ugly. The unauthorised green band over the door is acceptable, but the previous signage was better.

I see Spar across the road are up to their old tricks again covering over their chromed signage, this time not with a banner, but an entirely new sign! As for the rest of the street - the place is just falling down with crass unauthorised development, much of it on foot of recent planning applications with completely ignored conditions. It is tiresome listing it all. Planning control legislation just has to be changed. Not only could an instant reversal of unauthorised development take place, fines could be a real cash cow for Dublin City Council if there will was there. But it's not.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Devin » Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:17 pm

Re: Smiles. Well that kind of abstract, stark idea on a classical building can look good .... have seen some examples in London, I think.

Whatever is there at the moment is pretty minimal. Would be way down the list of offenders on O'Conn St. ...... unless they put on something during business hours I didn't see?
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:19 pm

The recent improvements to buildings on Dame Street are ongoing. I see the scaffold up above Toni and Guy and the adjoining vacant shop. Toni and Guy has a lovely decorative oriel window and it will be great to see it painted and the facade improved. The last occupier of the vacant unit was a kebab shop (one of many along Dame Street). Hopefully something more upmarket is planned.

And there are a few other notable additions to the streetscape about the city. Exchequer Street continues to retain a very high standard to shops and shopfronts. The latest additions to the street include The Green Hen (a very nice new French style bistro) and a very attractive use of green tiles further down the street for a new bakery and coffee shop (cant remember the name). They both add greatly to the quality of this street

Another noted building (though not really a shopfront) is the Bookend building (or at least its neighbour) on Essex/Wood Quay. This building was one of the more impressive new buildings in the city in the early 1990s as part of the Temple Bar development. Since then the constant traffic along the quays (including buses and lorries) had left the frontage dirty and worn. The shop/office units at street level are occupied by a solicitors but hardly make an impact on the street. The building was under scaffold for a few weeks over the past months and has now been revealed. The render facade has been cleaned and metalwork cleaned and repaired. Of interest are the new cyan coloured windows. I quite like them.

Further down the quays the former city council office at Wellington Quay are being remodeled with a rather bland and standard facade. Still, the original building was a bit of a blight on this section of the quays (a smaller section occupies a prominent point on Essex Street) and the remodeling is welcome. It would be good to see some improvement to the public realm along the quay here. Maybe some trees and greater width to allow for more life along this stretch.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:24 pm

We are getting used to the idea that so much of what was gained over the past few years is being slowly eroded. This sad state of affairs can increasingly be seen in the city centre ( and many other town centres I imagine).

Walking through Dublin last week I couldnt help but notice the degree to which shopfronts have declines. BTs dazzling display aside, a great many shops are falling back into all the bad habits that are well illustrated in this thread.

I have heard a rumour that the City Council are now taking a blind eye approach to all new retail in the city centre. Put anything into a unit...as long as they pay rates. There appears to be no enforcement, no requirement to apply for permission to change shopfront, no application of the Shopfront Guidelines, little or no attempt to curb garish frontages. I know its Christmas etc but every shop window now seems plastered with poasters and stickers and temporary banners.

As ever, ethnic stores are the biggest offender. There seems to bean acceptance that all these operators are outside of the planning system. Some of the Polish skjeps in particular are dreadful.

Fair enough its a recession. Many of those smart boutiques and lifestyle shops are bound to close down as less money is about. And for whatever odd reasons the demand for tackarama euro shops increases.

I must get my camera out for some of the worst culprits.

Perhaps I am just a snob :)
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby PVC King » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:25 pm

Perhaps I am just a snob


I fear not; coming in on Aircoach you really noticed the number of new signs particularly in the North Inner City; places like North Frederick Street and Parnell Square; what is going on here is that landlord's desperate to secure any tenant are letting these units often previously in office use to very marginal businesses such as steriod shops, gym's and mobile phone accessory shops; the tenants are often from juristictions where planning and lease compliance are alien concepts. Compare this with Grafton Street which other than Korkey's illegal crusade banner is not just under control but it is appropriate, attractive and condusive to both retailers taking money and a good urban environment.


Recession or no recession some of the signage being put up is beyond a joke; Dublin needs to get off its arse, stop feeling sorry for itself and create the type of environment that will make visitors return....
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby GrahamH » Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:10 am

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!

Dublin city centre is coming down with unauthorised retail development at present - journalists really should be picking up on this. The entire city is transforming itself into Frank McDonald's trashy honky tonk O'Connell Street of twenty years ago. Westmoreland Street as we all know is a complete write-off. Dame Street is without question within 18 months of being the same; indeed it is almost there, riddled with unauthorised uses, shopfronts and signage. Lower Grafton Street - give it a year at most based on current trends. Dawson Street is a complete kip and has been for years - how nobody else sees this is beyond me. Grafton Street gets worse by the second. Even South William Street has been losing the modest gains of recent years.

Everywhere you turn, a new Book Value has cropped up with its lurid turquoise plywood shopfront. What trades as a 'pop-up' bookstore is in fact a thriving chain specialising in unauthorised development - South Great George's Street, Westmoreland Street, Bachelor's Walk, lower Grafton Street, Merrion Row and elsewhere. Projecting signage is spreading like wildfire through the city. Postering and banners galore. Unauthorised fascias, facade-mounted signage, flagpoles, speakers - you name it. O'Connell Street has got so bad it is virtually impossible to keep track of what's going on over there - every second store is breaking the law. Carroll's Irish Gifts and Griffins newsagents have the entire centre wrapped up through unauthorised development - a mass action should be taken by the Department of Environment at this point against these persistent offenders.

It is well known that DCC Enforcement is grossly under-resourced thanks to the embargo on public sector recruitment and the loss of critical staff in the past year – including the only conservation enforcement officer. Similarly, the push for rates must surely be mitigating against any desire to push for standards across the city centre.

This just has to change. Dublin has actually been very lucky thus far – there has been relatively few closures in the past few years, in spite of the downturn in spending, and footfall is still holding up. Dublin never seems to suffer the fate of UK urban centres where clusters of vacant units tend to emerge as an immediate sign of a downturn. However, the new year will surely bring a whole new host of realities, and if decent planning codes and standards of presentation are not adhered to – in what is already a distinctly shoddy public realm in the city core – Dublin will only shoot itself in the foot. Indeed, even as we speak, the new Costa on College Green have just waltzed in, set up shop in one of the most prominent and architecturally significant buildings in the city in the former Daly’s club house, without so much as a peep from the planning authority, erected signage, flagpoles and lighting all over the façade, and are now applying for retention permission, plus permission to chop out the granite aprons of the arched shopfront! It simply beggars belief. The fact they think they can get away with this speaks volumes about the authority, the interest, the policy and the vision of the planning body running Dublin city – and for that matter, the mediocre and parochial standards of most of the merchants operating here.

It’s not all doom and gloom – the Henry Street axis is now without question the best looking street in Dublin, with Mary Street of a truly international – if somewhat soulless - standard. Grand, tall, gracious, immaculately designed and presented shopfronts, good displays, beautifully presented and illuminated historic facades – it makes Grafton Street and most of the city centre look like a landfill site. Needliess to say, it takes international retailers and their own handbook standards to improve the otherwise shoddy urban environment and standards of presentation in Dublin. Likewise, Exchequer Street is now the new Grafton Street - no question about it. The crown has been taken.

Planning policy leaders, planning enforcement, merchants and business associations seriously need to pull together to get this city into shape.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:48 am

Eh exactly..I was going to say all that but I got too depressed.

The fact remains that Dublin is still a desirable place for international retailers. In recent months, we have had Forever21, New Look and Next added to Jervis. Abercrombie and Fitch are taking the former Habitat store. Smaller boutique retailers regularly pop up on Grafton St and Exchequer St. As you rightly point out Graham, Exchequer St is one of the few city streets which feels as if it is actively managed - I wonder is it? Is most of the street owned by a single landlord. However, this attractiveness will very quickly be lost if the complete lack of planning enforcement, application of planning laws and overall vision for the city centre we see today is allowed to continue.

Some other offences to the senses:

Subway - bypassing any restrictions on new fastfood outlets in ACA and SPC areas by simply setting up shop in convenience stores, in most cases our old friend Griffiths.
Cant get your signage installed outside the premises? All you need to do here is plaster the window of the premises with signage.
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, the market is hideous. As you say Graham, the area in front of St Mary's Church is ideal for restaurants, although a UK tex mex chain is soon to open there - but its hardly the quality and character this little section deserves. Dame St is almost exclusively given over to bars and takeaways and tat. Very few quality businesses survive on what is the main spine of the city, the centre of the tourist city.

We should also think of the pervasive effect of a lack of enforcement. Take the Starbucks and Costa example on Dame Street. Why should Starbuck, which provided a good quality frontage generally respectful to its very significant surroundings, feel it should play ball when next door Costa have pulled out all the bells and whistles, seemingly with impunity. In fact Costa can now be considered a serial offender since they took much the same approach to their former premises on Dawson Street. I wonder would they pull the same stunt on High St Kensignton?

Some other areas to those you mention Graham:

Talbot Street - a disaster area. Thankfully it retains some charm but some of the worst examples of tat are found here. Of particular interest to me has always been the row of "shops" at the corner with Gardiner Street. In fact they include the corner Georgian townhouse which has been unmercilessly hacked throughout the years. The "shops" regularly change from Polish shop to phone shop to "convenience" stores. All of the cheapest quality. Never so much as an invalidated planning application. It has been this way for YEARS! I would suggest the big ugly advertising hoardings tacked to the side of the building are also unauthorized. But why play ball when the local authority adds its own tat to the mix - see the recently installed concrete bollards at the junction with James Joyce Street which I mentioned in another thread.

Parnell Street - its gotten worse..if that was at all possible.

Marlborough Street - a complete disaster area but you only have to walk along it to feel the potential. Think about it: this street has a major college, the primary catholic church in the country, the national theatre, a govt department housed in one of the most attractive campuses of any department, a good deal of extant historic houses, and is 1 block back from the primary thoroughfare of the city and country.

Camden Street - there are two more applications in the system for super bars on this street! How many more bars can possibly be accommodated. Most places I see are half empty these days - even at weekends. Many of the buildings on this street are owned by a small number of "developers". I dont think quality is in their dictionary.

And the last one to leave you with is a recent favourite of mine: the former XL convenience store on Parliament Street. XL got in there, defiled the shop front with a half finished lurid green paint job and a host of unauthorized signage, and went out of business after about 5 months. The ugly shop front remains as a reminder.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby gunter » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:12 pm

Maybe there's a design challenge to be met here.

Commercial premises hunger for impact signage, but you'll never get planning permission [except by mistake] for anything except low-impact signage.

Maybe we need to look at ways of designing signage that has more impact, but is less destructive of the streetscape than the current Logo driven signage.

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Lettering itself is surprisingly undestructive of streetscape, even though these examples on 1950s Bachelors Walk probably amount to 100% more actual square footage of signboard than you'd see on the average Centra . . . . . . .

OK, maybe not Centra
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby PVC King » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:11 pm

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,


Without going too far off topic you need to be minful of the concept of bid rent ability in terms of assembling a high quality retial environment, few cafe operators can make money off €400-€600 zone A rents, you just can't sell enough product; any destination needs a large element of non comparison retail offer to sustain shoppers for a number of hours whilst their wallets are drained between snacks. Taking the Henry Street / Mary Street axis you want the stretch from OCS to Jervis Street pretty much reserved for comparison retail; where the concept falls down is that Liffey Street is full of budget retailers and not cafe's, Moore Street is ecclectic and not servile to its position in the retail hierarchy, the GPO arcade is niche retail versus a food offer and the Ilac Centre has not capitalised on the potential to create a good food offer.

Basically the City Council, landlords reps and Retail Lobby need to sit down and move beyond the 'you can't do that there planning modelunless you flout the rules model and guess what we commit a lot of resources to making the rules but we have no one to enforce them' What it required is a change of mindset to one where stakeholders actively plan inserting the type of uses that will sustain Dublin City Centre as a viable retail destination. Legislation around lease expiries to enable non-core uses for landlords to have the ability to see tenancy agreements terminated on expiry of the existing term would be a very good start.

On signage with most of the examples cited on this thread as an occupier you would not get away with it in any credible retail destination I am familier with......
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:47 pm

I agree that its complicated. Planning policy for the street (the sort thats implemented) also plays a part by designating retail the primary use at ground floor level. I haven't looked too much into it but I wonder why greater use isnt made of upper floors not given over to retail. Also the proximity of streets such as Liffey St and Mary Street makes it all the more puzzling that restaurants aren't accommodated here.

I think your point about stakeholders actively manage the street is spot on. This need to start happening. It has been encouraged in a recent report to DCBA for Capel Street. Unless stakeholder pull together then the slide will just continue, creating issues which they wont even have foreseen and ultimately damaging the attractiveness of the street.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby PVC King » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:45 pm

I have always been a great fan of the DCBA who seem to be able to reach a level of urbanism that is sadly missing from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and they can I feel represent retail as a body. What is missing in Ireland is a credible property association to represent landlords who depend more than ever now on getting the urban environment product right given that positive economic tailwinds have become significant headwinds in recent years; all stakeholders including Dublin City Council, DCBA and either NAMA or IPUT should meet up and ensure a smooth transition; with a few schemes on the sidelines being built Dublin can become a very credible retail desitnation; however stagnation whilst these schemes raise funding is in no-ones interest.

An unregulated market leads to the lowest common denominator, supermarkets with dumpt displays of steriods.Great to see A & F coming to College Green, can you see Hollister going to Westmoreland Street?
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:16 pm

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!


Interestingly, now that the work is done, the owner feels it necessary to apply for retention permission 4095/10, decision pending. Observations can be made to 18th January.

A quick read of the application states: "the bi-chromatic colour scheme does not depart from the Development Plan Standards and adjacent colour schemes" and "portions of glazing are left clear to provide interaction in accordance with the Development Plan and O'Connell Street Shopfront Design Guidelines 2001". So the shopfront designers are at least aware of the Shopfront Guidelines and appear to indicate that they have consulted them prior to designing the fascia.

Just of interest, the developer says they comply with the Development Plan Standards whcih apply. I assume they mean the new Development Plan 2011 - 2017 which comes into effect tomorrow and which will be used to assess this application. Section 17.25.3 of the Plan, entitled Signs of Shopfronts and Other Business Premuses states:

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


Hmm, judge for yourself.

I don't mean to pick on this one particular premises. At the end of the days its welcome to see a new shop at this location, and its welcome to see the building renovated. However, we should aspire to a little more quality on such a prominent street. Why should John Keating, the previous owner and developer of St Mary's Church opposite have to jump through the hoops to achieve the restoration of the building while next door gets away with the such a poor quality shopfront which in turn detracts form the church. Its very frustrating.

I feel that the issue of "ethnic shops" has been continually ignored by both the wider business community and the City Council for a long time now. Capel Street offers another view of the often chaotic nature of the shopfronts of ethnic stores. A few new shops have opened in recent months which leave very little to be desired. Ethnic shops are great - a very welcome addition to the diversity of streets, particularly the secondary streets. However they need to be engaged so that the quality of these streets is retained. Thats certainly not happening at the moment.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:58 pm

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.

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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:04 am

A couple more shops in the area making zero effort to fit in

This parade on Talbot Street has been a mess since as long as I can remember. Shops just change hands, planning is non-existent, the adjoining Georgian townhouse has been butchered and disfigured repeatedly.

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Further along Talbot Street, towards the junction with Marlborough

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On North Earl Street, again a prime pitch...or at least what should be a prime pitch.

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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:14 am

Capel Street is an ACA since January 2009 but that hasnt stopped the creep of poor quality and garish shopfronts.

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The Planning Authority seems curiously reticent about engaging with ethnic businesses to encourage them to develop more sensitively. Given that the new Development Plan talks about encouraging ethnic quarters on streets like Capel Street then something has to change, otherwise the character and quality of the street will be harmed.

This property has applied for planning permission for a new shopfront (and went ahead and developed before the decision). The application makes no mention of the upper floors! The application is out to FI requesting revisions to ensure the building is improved and repaired.

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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:20 am

And then of course this beauty on the prominent corner of Parliament Street. The shop has now closed. I am unaware if planning enforcement got involved.

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A smarter outcome for this property further along the quay, part of the Clarence site. The shops were recently renovated and some have reopened, including this The Workman's Club. The brickwork was cleaned of layers of paint and smartened up. Perhaps they can move a few doors up and undo the damage.

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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:20 pm

What a shame to see two good quality stalwarts of Dame Street shut their doors in the past couple of weeks. Toni & Guy closed last week, after a good quality refurbishment of their premises towards the end of last year, while The Mermaid and neighbouring Gruel (so beloved of DCC planners and heritage/conservation intelligensia :) ) closed before Christmas. Mermaid occupies one of the most high profile buildings on the street, albeit one in need of a painting. Its seems the high rents demanded of its owner weren't directed towards the upkeep of the place.

An article on the reasons for the Mermaid's closure in the Irish Times today:

"Mark Harrell, owner of the now defunct Mermaid Cafe and Gruel restaurants, has said: "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?"

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Mermaid Cafe owner criticises rent practices
LAURA SLATTERY

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.”
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:38 pm

And of course the good news:
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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.


Good to see an indigenous name on Grafton Street. Shame to lose that lurid green though.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Devin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:16 am

It's grim what's happening on Dame Street. Gruel & Mermaid go but Rick's burgers, Iskander's kebabs, Eddie R, Abrak, Charlie's fast food et al all stay.




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StephenC wrote:Image


No permission sought for COU of this cafe to fast-food take-away, in the Capel ACA. Complaint was lodged last August. Is DCC's Planning Enforcement dept. working? ....... you tell me.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Devin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:28 am

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.

Image


The catalyst for the Polish fascia was the Spar on the corner: Because DCC Planning Enforcement did not take action on its new shopfront & signage when erected in 2006* - and because they did not take action again when Gourmet2Go installed the same signs as Spar except bigger & of higher impact in 2010 - the message went out that low standards are permissible beside the historic city church, so Polonez follow.

*New s/fronts & signage are not exempt. They require permission.


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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby PVC King » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:11 pm

An Taisce accuses council of 'reckless neglect' of city centre


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



The thing is Pat, your competitors think big and go with cool urban modern design;

http://www.chictip.com/wp-content/uploa ... ure-71.png

http://www.flickr.com/photos/santivalla ... l-mcstores

fast food is not only recession proof if priced right it is a giffen good just look at the shareprice graph for Micky D's http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=MCD+ ... D;range=5y

DCC need to look at enforcement as a revenue raising tool; there must be a way to use the by-laws to issue enforcement notices, levy fines directly and get a credit collection oriented legal practice to collect.
PVC King
 

Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:58 pm

Well done An Taisce! once again highlighting the appalling sham that is local government in the city and the terrible venality of some of the merchant class who just cant see the bigger picture beyond their own crappy, PVC-clad, flood-lit, poster-plastered patches.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby GrahamH » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:33 pm

Absolutely - this was a comprehensive and much needed 30-something page document to the Council listing all the old favourites in the increasingly commonplace field of unauthorised development. The principal commercial streets of the city centre have been descending into a tawdry parade of tat in recent years, with a disconcerting feeling across the board of nobody being in control. This is a timely and very well detailed submission with no wriggle room.

What is particularly galling is the extent to which brand new retail developments, on paper executed according to exacting and 'world class' shopfront guideline plans, are in reality presented in an entirely different manner. It's hilarious how retail outlets, forced to spend considerable sums on well detailed capital works through aspirant planning policies, seek as much as possible to negate the impact of their own costly investment.

In this respect, I would also have included the breaching of ACA and SPCS polices in relation to the new Londis and associated café on O'Connell Street regarding postering, shelving against windows and stands out on the street. The various units at the lower end of Grafton Street could also be included, one of whch has had 'temporary signage' erected in the past fortnight, but in all honesty where do you draw the line? The message was well and truly sent, including the critical issue of better resourcing of the Enforcement Department, which I believe now has only six enforcement officers for the entire city. Take account of complaints over domestic extensions, boundary wall disputes and large commercial and residential developments, and one gets a very real sense of the resources available to the city centre.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby PVC King » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:08 am

The temporary signage issue is really quite bizarre; you can understand a Christmas trader taking a unit for 6 weeks not wanting to spend a lot of money on signage given the depreciation ratio per trading day. But how many of these stores are on short term tenancies?

The bye-laws need to be altered to remove the capacity for any temporary signage on tenancies where the term is more than 8 weeks; it is a complete disgrace that busineses confident enough in a location to sign a ten or even five year lease can put up 'temporary signs' what are the legal costs of negotiating a lease, €5,000? €10,000? Cost of a proper sign, €3,000? €5,000?
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