€60m library will transform city centre
PLANS to build a €60m library and civic space at Parnell Square have been given the go ahead by the city council.
Ambitious plans to transform the area into a cultural quarter were drawn up in 2013 but councillors have just agreed a land swap deal that is crucial for the plans to progress.
It is hoped that the project will rejuvenate the Georgian square.
A new city library is to be built at the site of Colaiste Mhuire and it will be connected with the Hugh Lane Gallery by a new civic plaza.
It is expected that construction on the "new city landmark" will begin in 2017 and be completed in 2019.
According to a report presented to city councillors, the completion of the library will realise the goal of creating a "civic spine" in the capital, connecting key historic places.
A 200-seat conference and auditorium space is also envisaged for the development, which will act as a live venue suitable for recording.
There will also be an educational centre with capacity for up to 120 people, a music centre and a design space.
In a deal with the Office of Public Works the council has taken ownership of the Colaiste Mhuire buildings that are needed for the 11,095-square metre development.
A seven-acre site on the Jamestown Road was handed back to the OPW in exchange for the Georgian buildings.
Real estate firm Kennedy Wilson are partners with DCC and the OPW for the purposes of the project.
They have provided €2.5m in seed capital funds to get the project to the planning application stage.
Funds are also being raised via the Parnell Square Foundation both at home and abroad.
The design phase for the project is under way and it is hoped that a planning application will be lodged in January.