Grafton Street, Dublin

Re: Grafton Street 21st centuary

Postby PVC King » Mon Dec 04, 2006 9:13 pm

Totally agree that this is a metaphor for the streets change from quality products not available elsewhere aimed at a then small catchment say 10% of the population to one which is very mass market with goods at all prices.

I have no problem with luxery goods moving off the street; I am sure that Pia Bang did her maths and realised that she could make money serving her customer base developed over 30 years at a lower rent than requiring a 200% or 300% uplift in sales to make a similar return.

Take half the phoneshops out and prevent convenience stores going in and it is entirely likely that Grafton Street will re-balance. The ideal result would be that a quality offereing would spill over in places such as South King St and Clarendon St to diversify the offering.

I definitely see a half full glass here with a little attention to paving repair vs replacement and some large anchors on the adjoining streets this area will re-emerge as the dominent location for Dubliners
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Re: Grafton Street 21st centuary

Postby GrahamH » Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:06 am

Ironically Pia Bang is now more accessible on South Anne Street (or is it Duke Street?) than on bustling Grafton Street. It's also more visible in this wider, less congested location, while still easily seen from Grafton Street. So virtually all the benefits of the principal thoroughfare - indeed it feeds off it like a leech - but rent slashed by a substantial percentage. Akin to wealthy familes moving to the suburbs in the 19th century - makes perfect financial sense.


[quote="jimg"]I'd prefer the existing scheme be retained]

Could not agree more. Grafton Street is almost defined by its warmth - this must be sustained with a new scheme. I made up a submission on this very point for the ACA and SPCA consultations but didn't get it in in time :(
We have enough white granite in the city - at least do something different this time round. Without question the paving does need to be renewed though, as seen in some pics here. Also the notorious garish winter light that pierces the street from the south could make things even more uncomfortable with bright granite paving lining the thoroughfare. And though historicist, the lampposts have an undoubted charm and ought to be retained, especially as many are original (though not to the street).
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:01 am

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT ACTS 2000-2006

NOTICE OF PREPARATION OF SPECIAL PLANNING CONTROL SCHEME FOR THE GRAFTON STREET AND ENVIRONS

ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVATION AREA.

http://www.dublincity.ie/press_news/news/notice_of_preparation_of_special_planning_control_scheme_for_grafton_street_and_environs.asp
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby TLM » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:25 pm

This looks welcome but late ... is anything similar in place re O'Connell Street?
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Devin » Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:53 am

Also this, from yestrday's Times:


New rules to control shop types on Grafton Street
Olivia Kelly

New planning regulations to prevent "inappropriate" shops such as fast food outlets, mobile phone shops, discount outlets and sex shops opening on Dublin's Grafton Street will be put out to public consultation today.

The special planning control guidelines would stop particular enterprises from setting up in Grafton Street without planning permission and would make others "not permissible" on the city's premier shopping street.

The rules follow the designation of Grafton Street as an architectural conservation area last July. The designation served to protect the appearance of the street by specifying shopfront design and the material used in the maintenance of old buildings and in new developments.

The new planning regulations bring the protection of the street a step further by controlling the type of shops permitted.

Under existing regulations, the owner of a building could change its use from a clothes shop to a newsagents without reference to the council. However once the regulations are passed, this will no longer be allowed.

The council wants to discourage "non-fashion or fashion-related uses" and will require pharmacies, souvenir shops, card shops, health food shops and cosmetic/ beauty retailers to apply for planning permission.

However it has designated other shops as being "non-permissible" as they would "detract from the character of the street". Included in a list of 14 banned businesses are bookmakers, amusement arcades, fast-food restaurants, estate agents, mobile phone shops, convenience shops, sex shops and travel agents.

In its consultation document, the council has given examples of the types of businesses it considers "essential" to the street's character. These include Brown Thomas department store, Weir and Sons jewellers and Bewley's Cafe. These businesses are "major magnets" for the street, the council says, and it is a specific aim of the planning regulations to protect them.

The council also hopes to maximise the use of buildings by suggesting specific uses for upper floors including restaurants, tailors, hairdressers and beauticians. It also hopes that residential units will be included in vacant upper floors.

While the council cannot evict any existing undesirable retailers from the street, it hopes that they will gradually disappear as the quality of new businesses improves.

© The Irish Times - January 10, 2007
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby alonso » Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:26 pm

All offset of course by the news that Treasury may kick Bewleys out of their site due to some legal disagreement. Couldn't find the story on ireland.com but I definitely read it somewhere. I'll keep lookin

hurray here it is

http://www.breakingnews.ie/archives/story.asp?j=252713153&p=z5z7y4xy6&n=252714096&archive=10/01/2007
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Urban_Form » Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:47 am

The following Irish Times article was posted by Cobalt on February 8th 2006 (no date given for date of publication):

Experts say special Grafton Street planning restrictions won't work
Gretchen Friemann

Planning&Development: Special planning restrictions aimed at reversing the spread of mobile phone shops and convenience stores along Grafton Street are likely to backfire, according to a number of landlords and property experts.

Two weeks ago Dublin City Council (DCC) proposed transforming the capital's main shopping thoroughfare into an architectural conservation area (ACA) following mounting concerns over the street's deteriorating character.

The new planning designation will give the local authority strict control over what types of businesses can trade from the street and it's expected that mobile phone shops, convenience stores and pharmacies will be among those retailers that are in future either limited or excluded from the prime shopping thoroughfare.

But property experts claim such interference in the market is counter-productive.

They argue that restricting certain retailers from acquiring leases simply "incentivises" the current undesirable occupiers to remain trading on the street and creates an unpredictable market dynamic.

The fear is that under the ACA, leasehold values on certain properties will shoot through the roof making it harder for new, more attractive retailers to gain a foothold on the thoroughfare.

For example, mobile phone companies pay top rents for their outlets but, if special planning restrictions limit their numbers, then their existing leaseholds become a scarce commodity. That means any retailer looking to buy-out the lease has to fork-out key money significantly above the going market rate. And, according to Stephen Murray, head of retail at Jones Lang LaSalle, "restricted" companies - like the mobile phone shops - could then be faced with "reverse premiums" if the leaseholds were impossible to sell at the adjusted value. In other words, the blacklisted retailer would have to pay another user to take over the terms of the lease if it wanted to exit the street.

Murray argues that since few companies would agree to such a transaction, given the stratospheric rental terms they currently trade under, the ACA would "ironically be preserving" Grafton Street's retail mix rather than enhancing it.

However, Dick Gleeson, head of planning at Dublin City Council, maintains the special planning restrictions will improve the area's appeal by offering easier access to certain retailers.

Over the past few years supply constraints on Grafton Street have blocked the arrival of international fashion houses and Gleeson claims the ACA will ensure new traders are of a "quality and standard" that is appropriate for Ireland's most famous shopping location.

If the scheme is adopted as an amendment to the city development plan by the end of the year, as Dublin City Council hopes it will be, landlords and tenants will no longer be able to award a lease to the highest bidder.

Instead the local authority will have the final say over what retailers can occupy Grafton Street.

A list of "difficult users" will be compiled, identifying retailers that are banned from the thoroughfare and specifying other users that are only allowed in limited numbers.

But, as property experts point out, Dublin City Council does not have a successful track record in controlling city centre retailing. Seven years ago the Ann Summers sex shop chain won its battle to open an outlet on O'Connell Street after it challenged the local authorities in the High Court.

Some property experts argue the Grafton Street ACA could precipitate similar legal disputes.

They also claim the mobile phone shops, convenience stores and pharmacies which have been at the centre of an increasingly bitter debate about Grafton Street's tarnished image would have been flushed out by the forces of the free market.

Hugh Linehan, head of property with Hibernian Investments, which owns six shops on the thoroughfare, insists the mobile phone outlets are temporary traders, more concerned with marketing than clocking up sales.

"It's difficult to imagine they can reconcile these high rents with the number of products they are selling. I think this is all about maintaining a high-profile image."

And he claims retailers, like the phone shops, will inevitably relocate as the demand for space increases from other users.

Yet it is this constant churn that has most incensed local politicians and lobby groups, such as the Dublin City Business Organisation. They blame the institutional funds, which own large chunks of property along Grafton Street, for mismanaging the area and undermining its appeal to the general public.

Over the past 12 months more than half a dozen shops have changed hands, most of them prompted by rent reviews where landlords have pushed for leases to increase to the latest Zone A benchmark.

It is the highest churn rate in 20 years and has almost culled the street of indigenous retailers.

However, Niall Gaffney, the investments director with IPUT, a property pension fund which owns five outlets on the thoroughfare, including the O2 Experience shop, insists Grafton Street's problems could be solved by developing the surrounding area.

"Henry Street really is stealing a march on Grafton Street at the moment because it has large-scale sites that can accommodate key tenants, like Arnotts and Roches Stores. So the most effective way to improve the retail mix on the southside is to offer more space and that means developing the large landbanks that surround Grafton Street.

"They're going some way to address this supply crunch with the South King Street and South Anne Street schemes but we need the local authorities to concentrate their efforts on encouraging more of these developments."

And he pointed out "you don't attract big name retailers by slapping down ACAs. How many have moved into O'Connell Street as a result of similar planning restrictions? Henry Street proves the only way to attract these companies is by providing high-quality, large-scale units."

© The Irish Times


What is remarkable is that in the meantime an additional mobile phone store has opened on Grafton Street. That means now there are two Vodafone Stores, two O2 Stores, a Carphone Warehouse, a Meteor Store and the new 3Store (just recently opened) on the street. It brings to 7 the number of mobile phone stores on the street alone. That's not counting the other mobile phone stores in the vacinity; O2 Store on Hibernian Way, O2 Store on Suffolk St / Nassau St, Carphone Warehouse in Stephen's Green Centre and an independent mobile phone store on South Anne Street that also recently opened, after the suggestion of planning controls to tackle this very problem were raised initially. Effectively, since the idea was floated, two more phone stores have opened in the area between then and implementation.

It seems this "Special Planning Control Scheme" is arriving a bit too late for the party...

The whole area is becoming the mobile phone quarter - much the same way there is a "hammock quarter" in an episode of the Simpsons.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Devin » Fri Jan 19, 2007 2:49 am

John Graby of the RIAI wrote a piece on this very subject in the Sunday Tribune of 12 November entitled 'Say "no more" to mobile phone shops in the city'. I have the cutting, but it doesn't seem to be in their online content.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby PVC King » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:37 pm

There are a lot of mobile phone shops on Grafton Street and it is very hard to believe that any opened recently; as the trend in other European Cities has definitely been consolidation within that setor as more and more phones are sold online. I think the main problem with mobile phone shops are that because they often pay such a massive premium rent that it is very difficult to assign them because no other retailer can justify the rental levels they often pay which combined with covenant strength makes them almost as permanent as the buildings they occupy.

I think that a change in the rating system from a rate in the pound to one linked to rental level could make for an interesting scenario. Particularly if rates rebates were given for more disireable uses such as comparison retailing uses such as clothes and footware
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby jdivision » Mon Jan 29, 2007 2:33 pm

PVC King wrote:There are a lot of mobile phone shops on Grafton Street and it is very hard to believe that any opened recently

3 opened in last few months, Vodafone moved to a bigger store at Stephen's Green end of the street and Meteor opened last year I think
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby archipimp » Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:34 pm

in my opinion marks and spencers are been allowed swallow up way too much of the street further lowering the retail mix available and they really just make a large stretch of the street kind of lifeless with the one entrance at one end and the rest just black shutters for most the time!!also i dont think they should be allowed close of grafton arcade just because they bought up all the surronding shops.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby jdivision » Thu Feb 01, 2007 4:33 pm

archipimp wrote:in my opinion marks and spencers are been allowed swallow up way too much of the street further lowering the retail mix available and they really just make a large stretch of the street kind of lifeless with the one entrance at one end and the rest just black shutters for most the time!!also i dont think they should be allowed close of grafton arcade just because they bought up all the surronding shops.

They've owned all the shops for years. They are planning to subsume the Grafton Street arcade into the rest of the shop.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Urban_Form » Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:15 am

Most of the mobile phone stores actually make very little money from their Grafton Street outlets, in fact I understand they even operate at a loss. They're there for brand exposure more than anything else
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Daragh » Sat Apr 21, 2007 8:31 am

I've been reading about some of the new tenants who have recently located on Grafton Street and am beginning to think that the street's fortunes are finally changing. Although it's been a long time coming, it appears that the street's outrageous rents are finally forcing some of the more tacky retail chains to move elsewhere and allow more high-end shops, which can afford the rents, to enter the street.

Over the past eight months or so we've seen the Serena store at the southern end of Grafton Street vacating its premises to be replaced by the Italian fashion chain Sisley, which forms part of the Benetton group. Principles has also left to be replaced by the more up market British fashion house Karen Millen. Jack Jones also left the street to be replaced by the expensive Austrian crystal and jewelry store Swarovski. And although Jigsaw was a fine tenant for the street, the news that it's leaving its premises and will be replaced by the even more up market fashion label Ted Baker is no bad thing. And finally, the highly expensive London-based jewelry store Boodles also recently opened in the shop formerly occupied by middle-of-the-road British chain Suits You. News that Tommy Hilfiger is on the lookout for a premises on the street is also welcome.

And although the tenants can hardly be regarded as up market, the news that both Zara and H&M are opening major stores in the new King Street complex beside the Gaiety is excellent news and a much needed boost for the street as well.

However, I'm still amazed at how few topend, luxury fashion stores seem to want to open on Grafton Street, or indeed anywhere else in Dublin. I'm currently in Sydney and am amazed at how many Gucci, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Prada stores etc. are littered all over the city. Even when I was in Buenos Aires, which is still recovering from a major economic crisis which has left millions in the throng of poverty, there were dozens and dozens of luxury fashion stores everywhere. Also, the places where these stores are located are often on small, badly paved, litter strewn streets, with little class or sophistication that compare badly to the charm that Grafton Street and its surrounds still have, especially in the case of Sydney.

Is it that we Irish simply don't know good taste and therefore luxury brands know that they can't afford to open here?
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby al_3452 » Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:05 pm

rent rent rent.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby PVC King » Sat Apr 21, 2007 4:20 pm

Agreed it is rental levels that prevent high end retailers from opening on Grafton Street as a business case block. However the terms of these retailers concession and or supply agreements with BT may also prevent them from opening rival operations in Dublin for a specified number of years. Luxery retail is also not such a clear cut thing as analysing the size of an abc1 income level and acheiving scale. In China only Chanel and Christian D'ior have made any real profits. For whatever reason many people will buy luxury goods in Paris or Milan but not Dublin or Edinburgh.

Grafton Street has a long way to go to fulfill its potential.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby colm07 » Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:38 pm

Look at all the cars on Grafton St. Anyone know what year Grafton St became pedestrian only?
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby PVC King » Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:40 pm

1984
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby electrolyte » Sun Apr 22, 2007 5:56 pm

Interesting that the pre-pedestrainised Grafton Street had no lampposts? At all? There were lamps hanging on building to building wires, like they have all over Europe even today. I prefer lampposts though.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:33 pm

Image

that's given me a real flashback to my childhood - i still remember walking down the narrow footpaths crammed with people
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby tommyt » Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:17 pm

great photo.I forgot the buses used to run along the street
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:50 pm

It's odd how it looks like an English town high street, especially with those lamps suspended over the road :)
Extensive antique granite paving too...

The first picture of course shows the swan neck lampposts installed all over the city centre in around 1903, most of which were replaced in the 1930s with the famous concrete pillars, but it's possible the swan necks survived on Grafton Street up until the 1960s.

Image

That picture also shows how elegant Brown Thomas'/Switzer's main facade was with its original windows. Oddly for BT, today the facade looks terrible with dodgy Edwardian-like casements fitted with nasty mirror glass blindly reflecting back on the street.. The transparent, airy original one-over-ones make all the difference and should be reinstated.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby alonso » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:42 pm

it's amazing that even with a dilapidated surface, and a multitude of gammy shopfronts, a pedestrianised street is still a million times more attractive than a trafficked one. Take note DCC when the City Centre Plan is on the table. Also DLRCoCo who believe that reintrducing traffic into Dun Laoghaire Main street will somehow bring the droves back from Dundrum to shop in that kip of a centre, and the various €1 and charity shops. Not the brightest sparks thems that works on Marine Road
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby phil » Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:47 pm

Alonso, what is the 'City Centre Plan' to which you refer?
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby alonso » Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:56 pm

It's the public transport only option for College Green and the whole Traffic Management regime for O'Connell Street. All aimed at reducing through traffic in the CIty Centre, and making life a little easier for us mere cyclists and pedestrians. It is also pretty necessary for LUAS Line BX, and pretty compromised by the Arnotts proposal with underground car park access from the footpath!!!
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