A planning application for the €100 million redevelopment of St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre has been declared invalid by Dublin City Council.
Earlier this month, Davy entity, DTDL Ltd lodged plans for the rejuvenation of the Dublin shopping centre that will see the centre get a complete facelift, provide an additional 21,419sq m in gross floor area space and include a reconfigured mall opening onto St Stephen's Green.
A report lodged with the scheme stated that most retail units at the “outdated” and “underperforming" shopping centre are too small and the smaller units at the upper levels trade poorly and can operate only on short term leases.
However, the Council has now determined the application to be invalid on two grounds and DTDL Ltd must now recommence the planning process.
The Council has found that the notices for the planning application do not comply with several articles under the Planning and Development Regulations.
The Council has stated that the description of the scheme is insufficient for the information of the public and that the full nature and extent of the development must be stated in the notices.
The Council state that the applicant is therefore requested to submit a new site notice and a new newspaper notice.
The council state: “It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the notices adequately describe the works proposed in the drawings submitted with the application.”
The council has also declared that certain drawings are insufficient where the submitted 2nd to 7th proposed floor plans do not specify the intended/proposed use of these floors.
The scheme is to add two storeys to the existing six storey landmark shopping centre.
The St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre was first opened in 1988 and the Davy entity has drawn up the plans after paying a reported €175 million for the centre on behalf of its clients in 2019.
A report lodged on behalf of Davy Real Estate Investment and Management with the application offers a candid assessment of the limitations of the “outdated” centre's current design.
An architectural design statement drawn up by architects for the ambitious plan, BKD architects states that since opening in 1988, the St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre has faced many difficulties in attracting sustainable retailers.
The report states that these include that most unit sizes are too small and the smaller shop units particularly those at the upper levels trade poorly and can operate only on short term leases.
The report does say that the anchor tenant, Dunne Stores along with Boots and TK Maxx trade well.
Street-level retail mall
Now, as part of the plan, the DTDL Ltd scheme is to reconfigure the street-level retail mall to allow for larger and enhanced quality shops with a partial retail level at first floor and commercial office uses in the upper floors.
The applicants are also proposing to introduce a new cafe/restaurant/bar zone linking the mall to the street.
The statement says that “the symbiotic relationship between the proposed uses will ensure the successful delivery of a rejuvenated and enhanced city centre experience for retail trading, in combination with workplace and leisure uses”.
BKD architects state that the plan is to deliver a vibrant and commercial sustainable use that is capable of revitalising the surrounding streets; create a new city gateway and rejuvenate South King Street.
Planning consultants for the scheme, John Spain & Associates state that the existing building "has become outdated" and the proposal seeks to enhance a high quality shopping centre and office facility on a centrally located site.
Mr Spain states that the proposed mixed use scheme will provide for retail and café/restaurant/bar use across ground and first floor levels with office accommodation from 1st to 7th floor level.
The report states that the St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre “is currently underperforming in its retail function and the proposal through the provision of medium-sized units, which are currently in demand by higher order retailers, has the potential to significantly improve the retail offering in the area.