High Court reporters
Dunnes Stores is not happy with the quality of the architecture of a communal square in the Point Village development in Dublin's docklands, the Commercial Court heard.
Dunnes have brought proceedings against the Point Village Development Ltd (PVDL) company seeking that the 'Point Square' be completed in accordance with a clause in an agreement on the development.
It says the clause requires that the work on the square be of a "first class standard appropriate to a prestigious shopping centre" similar to Eyre Square in Galway, Grand Canal Square Dublin and Dundrum Town Centre Civic Plaza.
The proceedings are in the context of a long-running dispute between the receivers of PVDL and Dunnes about the opening of a Dunnes anchor store in the development.
The completion of the Point Square is to be a milestone in relation to a previous settlement between the parties whereby €3 million will be released to PVDL from a joint escrow account.
Dunnes contends however that PVDL has failed, refused or neglected to ensure the Point Square is completed to the standard required by the development agreement and it is asking the court to determine the issue.
PVDL says the square has been finished for a number of years and it was claiming, two years since it first raised the issue, that the work was not "sufficiently aesthetically pleasing", nor had it suffered any loss or damage as a result.
An application by PVDL to bring contempt proceedings against Dunnes for the alleged non-compliance with previous court orders that it carry out a fit-out of the anchor store is to be heard by the Commercial Court in July.
Martin Hayden SC, for Dunnes, in seeking to have the latest case admitted to the Commercial Court, said Dunnes "do not have to open any store" until the work is completed to standard, regardless of whether the store is fitted out.
John Lavelle BL, for PVDL, opposed the entry of the case to the commercial list saying there was no commercial urgency and because of delay by Dunnes in bringing proceedings.
He said this was in the context of litigation that has been going on for 13 years, with the issue related to the Point Square going on for nine years and with Dunnes being in breach of its obligations to fit out the anchor store since 2016.
Despite final court orders on the fit-out matter, Dunnes have still not taken any steps in that direction and their counsel had made it clear that it has no intention of trading even if it fits out the store. It is also saying it is entitled to immediately close the new store if it wants, he said.
Mr Justice Denis McDonald admitted Dunnes' proceedings to the fast track commercial list on Monday. He said it was in everyone's interests that the matter of whether the dispute should be sent for expert determination should be resolved as soon as possible.
It was "really a very unhappy picture” where there had been so much litigation between two commercial entities in relation to a development of this kind, he said.