what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby Paul Clerkin » Sat Jan 08, 2005 4:51 pm

what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?



'Times' to leave D'Olier Street after 110 years
Jack Fagan



The Irish Times is to move from its current offices in the centre of Dublin after almost 110 years. The new head office is planned for nearby Tara Street.

The proposed relocation to Liffey House, a newly-completed eight storey building at the junction of Tara Street and Townsend Street, follows an agreement with its owner, Dublin City Council. The agreement, which has yet to be ratified by the members of Dublin City Council, gives The Irish Times a long-term lease of the 3,898 sq m (41,958 sq ft) building with an option to buy at a date in the future.

The newspaper has been located in the Westmoreland Street/Fleet Street and D'Olier Street triangle since 1895. Previously it operated from Lower Abbey Street, near Wynns Hotel, since its foundation in 1859. The present location was marked by the famous Irish Times clock which first stood over the public office in Westmoreland Street until the 1970s when it was transferred to D'Olier Street.

The main reason for the move to Tara Street is to provide modern office accommodation following the building of a new €70 million printing facility in Citywest.

The managing director, Ms Maeve Donovan, said the company was delighted to have identified a building that meets the needs of a modern publisher with an expanding media business. It was also good to be able to remain in a part of the city centre where The Irish Times had a long-standing and historic presence.

The Irish Times is open to consider a range of options for its current offices, including a direct sale or a joint venture redevelopment.

Liffey House was built by the city council on the site of a speculatively developed block which was occupied for many years by the corporation's by-law and fire departments.

The new building was designed by architects Donnelly Turpin and is distinguished by a bow-fronted facade and a particularly fine entrance foyer.

There will be little need to make changes to the high-quality building - except that the famous clock will once more get a new home.
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby PVC King » Sat Jan 08, 2005 5:06 pm

I didn't see this one coming, although everything the INDO have done recently the Times appear to follow when it comes to premises. I have always like Liffey House and I'm sure that the times will be very happy there.

It is very hard to know what will happen with the existing premises on D'olier & Fleet Streets, it is a messy one to assess as so much of it is protected. My own feeling is that it will revert back to a mostly residentail use and that carparking will be provided from the printing entrance on Fleet St.

The retail potential is very difficult to assess here as the length of the Irish Times Offices created a terrace that has been such dead-frontage that people never plan to travel this route and as such it would take a pretty big occupier in terms of reputation to turn this situation around.

The wild cards in the pack are that an office occupier could be attracted by virtue of a lower rental level than modern offices or that another Westin Hotel proposal would emerge.

Incidently the Irish Times Clock will remain in-situ, they of all newspapers would know the ins and outs of protected structure legislation.
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby GrahamH » Sat Jan 08, 2005 5:37 pm

I imagined so - can't exactly see it adapting to its new location anyway - "ah sure just tack it on the front there" :)

Didn't see this coming either. It has to be welcomed. In much the same way as Trinity killed Pearse St, The Irish Times at best can be accused of manslaughter regarding D'Olier St - it was just unfortunate the nature of their operations led to the inevitable dead frontage along there. Coupled with O'Cll Bridge House straddling nearly half way down, and nothing but Pearse St at the end as an attraction, the street just died.
If it wasn't for the bus stops there, there'd be little pedestrian traffic at all.

The ideal situation would be to to convert upstaires to residential, whilst having retail on the ground/first floor. As to whether a major outlet would want to take on such a project, the project being the street rather than the buildings, I'm not too sure.
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby Paul Clerkin » Sat Jan 08, 2005 5:43 pm

I imagine that they will ask for permission to move the clock - it has afterall been moved before - so its not like it is original to the D'Olier Street range.....
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby PVC King » Sat Jan 08, 2005 10:24 pm

A big surprise to see that conservative last bastion of the old gaurd move into a modern building, didn't their last move nearly bankraupt them and led to half the journalists being let go? I am also not too sure how an antique clock will look on a clean modern building, a little fussy possibly?
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby StephenC » Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:51 pm

I had just been considering when, if ever, the DCC were going to get a tenant into Liffey House and complete this scheme (its still got railings around it). Moving the Times here is gtood news and I look forward to something positive happening to their current offices. Personally I think they would make excellent residential over retail development. The units culd be small and cater for small business which contribute just as much to the liveliness of a street as large anchor stores. I think the CC should look closely at the whole street now and try and get the best deal possible for it in light of the changes that O'Connell Bridge House and Gas Building are making. The clock will be moved I think. It wouldn't really make much sensse to retain it. Maybe they could make a feature of it in their new offices.
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby notjim » Tue Jan 11, 2005 6:32 pm

persumably they will put the clock in the foyer, not on the facade.
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby GrahamH » Tue Jan 11, 2005 8:27 pm

Now there's an idea! I wouldn't have any objection to it moving anyway; it would be rather silly just to leave it there. It is more a part of The IT's heritage than the city's. And if anything, to remove it would largely restore the WSC terrace's upper floors to their original state!

But more than that needs to be done - despite the work carried out by the Irish Times, I have heard it described as something of a half-hearted restoration and would have to agree from the perspective of attention to detail. Some of the window openings are partially reduced in size, or have otherwise been adapted. Also there's quite a bit of mirror glass as I recall, and some non-sash frames there too that require replacement.
It would be great to see traders operating behind some of the remaining shopfronts - especially in place of the rather seedy, net curtain-clad windows there before.
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Jan 11, 2005 9:41 pm

The interior is a rabbit warren according to a friend who used to work there....
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby Devin » Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:31 am

I saw an objective somewhere in the draft City Development Plan '04 that the council would seek to return the amalgamated buildings at 10-16 D'Olier St to individual shop units...
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby StephenC » Wed May 24, 2006 12:01 pm

A reannoucement as it were....

Over €25 million for headquarters of The Irish Times

After 111 years and ahead of a move to Tara Street, The Irish Times is selling its headquarters on D'Olier and Fleet streets, writes Jack Fagan

The Irish Times is to sell its extensive headquarters in Dublin city centre in advance of its move to a new office block in nearby Tara Street. The newspaper has been operating from its present premises on D'Olier Street and Fleet Street for 111 years.

Estate agent CB Richard Ellis is quoting a guide price of over €25 million for the landmark building which is likely to be redeveloped after it goes for sale by tender on June 23rd.

Management and staff are due to move this summer into a newly built office block, Liffey House, at the junction of Tara Street and Townsend Street, where the latest technology has been installed to ensure the smooth and efficient production of the newspaper.

The move follows the development of an €85 million printing and publishing facility at Citywest, which has facilitated the production of larger newspapers with a greater range of colour options.

The production of the newspaper has undergone major changes in recent years. It is now published simultaneously in Dublin, London and Madrid. The Citywest printing operation was recently extended to handle an ever-increasing number of other contract publications.

The Irish Times has been based in the Westmoreland Street/Fleet Street/D'Olier Street triangle since 1895. Previously it was based in Lower Abbey Street, near Wynns Hotel, after its foundation in 1859. The Irish Times clock was located on Westmoreland Street for many years until the 1970s and was subsequently moved to D'Olier Street along with the front office. The intention is to move the clock once more if planning permission is forthcoming.

The block going for sale covers most of D'Olier Street and part of Fleet Street - 8 to 16 D'Olier Street and 24 to 27 Fleet Street. The entire site extends to 0.18 hectares (0.44 of an acre) with 65 metres of frontage on to D'Olier Street and 60 metres on to Fleet Street.

The overall floor area comes to around 6,000sq m (64,584sq ft) and, according to Ronan Webster of CBRE, the planners are likely to look favourably on a higher density scheme in line with the Treasury Holdings development of the Westin Hotel on the opposite side of Fleet Street.

Curiously, numbers 8 to 16 D'Olier Street are listed for preservation in the Dublin City Development Plan 2005-2011 even though numbers 11 and 12 were completely rebuilt after a fire in the early 1950s.

Webster says that, subject to planning permission, he believes the office and printing facility will be developed as a high density office, residential, hotel or mixed-use scheme. It is the largest block of properties to come on the market in the city centre since Independent Newspapers sold its Middle Abbey Street premises two years ago.

© The Irish Times
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby StephenC » Wed May 24, 2006 12:03 pm

A nice mixed retail scheme at ground level is just what D'Olier Street needs. A bit of remodelling of the facades will be required though. Might be time to review the protected status of the buildings.
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby phil » Wed May 24, 2006 12:23 pm

Thanks Stephen. It will be interesting to see what is planned for this. It kind of reminded me of something that I stumbled upon on the Treasury site a while ago and meant to post about. Not much point in creating new thread though as it is on the same street. It would appear that the former ICS building is to be converted into apartments (maybe already has?)

http://www.treasuryholdings.ie/development/project_detail.asp?id=30&category=Residential&cat=1
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby Rory W » Wed May 24, 2006 1:28 pm

Happened about 5 years ago Phil
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby phil » Wed May 24, 2006 1:31 pm

Thanks Rory W. Are they lived in?
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby jdivision » Wed May 24, 2006 1:48 pm

StephenC wrote:A nice mixed retail scheme at ground level is just what D'Olier Street needs. A bit of remodelling of the facades will be required though. Might be time to review the protected status of the buildings.

I don't think there's enough footfall on the island to justify retail - the Manchester Utd store showed that and retailers learned a lesson, hence it's still empty. Maybe the only thing would be if the guys who bought the former bank behind it on Westmoreland St and got planning for retail also bought that - that scheme (I think it's the ICS building) doesn't appear to have moved much in recent years. The Westmoreland bar is also on sale so could be a good landbanking opportunity for somebody. I expect residential and possibly an extension of the Westin hotel.
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby Punchbowl » Wed May 24, 2006 1:57 pm

phil wrote:Thanks Stephen. It will be interesting to see what is planned for this. It kind of reminded me of something that I stumbled upon on the Treasury site a while ago and meant to post about. Not much point in creating new thread though as it is on the same street. It would appear that the former ICS building is to be converted into apartments (maybe already has?)

http://www.treasuryholdings.ie/development/project_detail.asp?id=30&category=Residential&cat=1


Interesting possible development there.. I would really hope that the apartments here will be hi-end and sensitive to the character of the building, but with it's location, it could really go either way. If Westmoreland St was cleaned up it could be a desirable address..

I wonder is this the start of a renaissance in City Centre living, a belated living above the shop program?? Any other commercial developments being converted into residential?
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby a boyle » Wed May 24, 2006 2:48 pm

jdivision wrote:I don't think there's enough footfall on the island to justify retail - the Manchester Utd store showed that and retailers learned a lesson, hence it's still empty. Maybe the only thing would be if the guys who bought the former bank behind it on Westmoreland St and got planning for retail also bought that - that scheme (I think it's the ICS building) doesn't appear to have moved much in recent years. The Westmoreland bar is also on sale so could be a good landbanking opportunity for somebody. I expect residential and possibly an extension of the Westin hotel.


I think it is a case of there are no shops so there is no footfall. The manu shop was not enough to attract people accross the road.

The widening of the footpath by one traffic lane (there is one spare lane that doesn't serve any purpose , and i always get stuck in it! ) . Removing the pay display parking and using the whole ground level and some second level for retail and you have a viable mixed use scheme. It would complete the wide streets commisions vision in a very nice way
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby StephenC » Wed May 24, 2006 3:12 pm

Yes, I agree with you. I also think the reason the Man U store failed was because there is not enough happening here. Most people stay on the other side of Westmoreland Street. In fact I remember reading about the possible IBS redevelopment that the developers were requesting a new pedestrian-friendly section of the street to entice punters over from Temple Bar. This is obviously a bigger question as the current College Green thread shows.

I think wider pavements on D'Olier St are a must...ther eis ample sapce and there is far to much traffic allowed here. The street has great potential. I also think a Westin ectension will factor in this. A possible bridge link on Fleet St or even the redesign of Fleet Street required. Again this causes problems for the Dublin Buspark here.

Hmmm its a real planning conundrum. You could spend years trying to figure out what to do with this whoel area.
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby a boyle » Wed May 24, 2006 3:17 pm

StephenC wrote:Yes, I agree with you. I also think the reason the Man U store failed was because there is not enough happening here. Most people stay on the other side of Westmoreland Street. In fact I remember reading about the possible IBS redevelopment that the developers were requesting a new pedestrian-friendly section of the street to entice punters over from Temple Bar. This is obviously a bigger question as the current College Green thread shows.

I think wider pavements on D'Olier St are a must...ther eis ample sapce and there is far to much traffic allowed here. The street has great potential. I also think a Westin ectension will factor in this. A possible bridge link on Fleet St or even the redesign of Fleet Street required. Again this causes problems for the Dublin Buspark here.

Hmmm its a real planning conundrum. You could spend years trying to figure out what to do with this whoel area.



We could just nuke all the times reporters ? start with john waters .
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby hutton » Wed May 24, 2006 3:23 pm

a boyle wrote:The widening of the footpath by one traffic lane (there is one spare lane that doesn't serve any purpose , and i always get stuck in it! )


Spot on. At present the IT block primarily works as a trianglar roundabout for traffic, dating from thee days that it and O C st were the primary artery. Plenty of opportunity to do something now. Widening paths or putting down new ones would be a good start. And maybe likewise on Westmoreland also? Or whatabout wide medians in the middle of the two streets, planted up with trees?
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby StephenC » Wed May 24, 2006 3:32 pm

Wide medians just dont work.... as was the case with OC St. I would much prefer to see wide treelined pavements at the sides of street so that outdor uses such as cafes or just sitting and watching the world go by (remember this one) are encouraged.
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby a boyle » Wed May 24, 2006 5:10 pm

StephenC wrote:Wide medians just dont work.... as was the case with OC St. I would much prefer to see wide treelined pavements at the sides of street so that outdor uses such as cafes or just sitting and watching the world go by (remember this one) are encouraged.



Yes i would agree with wide pavements over a planted median. Hopefully the most is made of the irishtimes site.
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby GrahamH » Thu May 25, 2006 1:01 am

Arguably there's two lanes more than is required on D'Olier Street, though I haven't examined it closely. Certainly there always seems to be way too much space devoted to road on this thoroughfare - one lane most definitely.

And yes, widened pavements are the way to go for here and Westmoreland. Medians only tend to generate dead space if dividing busy roads - in an ideal world O'Connell Street wouldn't have one either were it not for the monuments that line its length.

The Irish Times moving out offers great potential for poor old D'Olier/Dogeared St. Describing it in its most basic form as little more than a four lane road with a stack of bus stops alongside, one might be excused for thinking it to be the Stillorgan Road - albeit a magnificent brooding Georgian streetscape in substantial part. All it needs is a couple of flyovers.
Residential use seems the most likely for most of the upper floors, whether this be in domestic or hotel form. The nature of the street frontage and fenestration lends itself to it. Are there any Georgian domestic interiors/features left in any of the upper floors does anyone know?
The nasty red brick part of the terrace with 'bungalow' on top, though not in possession of the IT, ought also to be rebuilt to WSC specifications.

It'd be great to see the shop units along here once again fulfilling their original function - they're not a bad size either. Strange that retailing has changed so little in 200 years!
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Re: what now for Irish Times D'olier Street buildings?

Postby GrahamH » Sun Sep 28, 2008 8:59 pm

28/9/2008

Lovely little video here with audio of the reinstatement of the newly restored Irish Times clock. Beautiful photographs.

http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/slideshows/irishtimes-clock/


In relation to the enormous restoration and conversion scheme going on in respect of the former offices, I think it spectacularly unambitious that the reinstatement of all the Wide Streets Commission shopfronts - i.e. a meagre three narrow plots in this scheme - wasn't insisted on by planners. This is the sole large-scale surviving ensemble of the WSC in the city, indeed arguably the last surviving scheme that is even recognisably by the WSC, and uniquely complete with many original shopfronts, and yet the matter of fully restoring the streetscape was extraordinarily customarily glossed over when the case was dealt with. Indeed from what I can read of the final report, the submission by An Taisce about restoring the missing original shopfronts and quoting DCC Shopfront Guidelines doesn't even appear to have been understood:

"In terms of the proposed shopfronts, the concerns of An Taisce are noted. It would appear however that these concerns are largely met in the proposed development which proposes the refurbishment of the existing shopfronts. Details of signage will be required when end users of the units are identified and details of this aspect should be made the subject of compliance."

How can the needs of reinstating by met by not reinstating? Either they are or they are not. The existing shopfronts are entirely irrelevant. This scheme proposes extensive glazing for a "higher profile on D'Olier Street" in place of the modern granite and tiled shopfronts. Even on its own merits, there is absolutely nothing in the report that addresses the critical issue of the missing shopfronts independent of the An Taisce submission, a matter which has implications on a city-wide level in terms of understanding the architectural development of Dublin. Quite extraordinary.
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