A PLAN TO convert the last Georgian mansion built in Dublin into an office block has been cleared by the national planning authority.
Aldborough House, which is located near Dublin’s Five Lamps junction, was constructed at the turn of the 19th century and was the second-largest Georgian residence in Dublin after Leinster House.
A proposal to regenerate the derelict site, which has been vacant since 1999, was submitted to Dublin City Council last year and subsequently approved by the local authority.
However, the Irish Georgian Society and heritage group An Taisce appealed the council’s decision to An Bord Pleanála with “grave concerns” about the scale of the development being proposed by owners Reliance Investments Limited.
The development plans submitted involved the regeneration of the building into an office block and the demolition of some structures at the site, including a former theatre.
The works would also include the removal of the old guardhouse at the site and its storage at a different location so it can be re-erected elsewhere at a later date.
This would free up space to build two new blocks on each side of Aldborough House and provide additional floorspace of 12,550 sq m. The total floor space of the new office development would be 14,720 sq m.
The developer also proposed the creation of a new mezzanine office floor in the house and glazed links between the house and the office blocks on both sides.
However, Reliance Investments noted these aspects of the proposal could be omitted from the plans if necessary.
An Bord Pleanála has decided to uphold the decision of the council, however it attached numerous conditions to the plans proposed. It noted that the mezzanine and glazed links between office blocks should be left out of the development.
The planning board said there was a “need to protect” Aldborough House due to its architectural, historical, cultural and social significance.
It added that the proposed development would contribute to the conservation of the heritage of the city and “would not unduly detract” from the character of the Georgian structure.
Aldborough House is a protected structure that was variously used as an aristocratic townhouse, army barracks and a post office.
The site has been unused since 1999 when it was sold by Telecom Éireann to the Irish Music Rights Organisation (Imro).
Imro planned to use the building as its headquarters, but the group sold the house in 2005 to a development firm called Aldborough Developments.
This company secured permission a year later to turn the house into a care facility, but the plan never came to fruition. Aldborough House was most recently acquired by Reliance Investments in 2014.
Until last year, the development firm was coy on revealing plans for the site, but previously told Dublin council the overall vision is to “bring the property back to its former glory”.