Department of Health HQ set for wrecker's ball in €50m plan
The Department of Health headquarters in Dublin city centre is at the centre of a major new development.
Hawkins House, which was built in 1962, and neighbouring Apollo House will be knocked down in plans revealed by the Office of Public Works (OPW).
The OPW is seeking planning permission from Dublin City Council to demolish the buildings and allow for a new development, including business space, restaurants and public plaza.
Although the exact cost of the project is not yet known, it is estimated to be around €50m. Both buildings are considered to be showing their age after more than 50 years.
Pictures released by the OPW show the demolition will allow for the construction of a commercial office, including a public plaza on the ground floor and the provision of cafe and retail units.
It will see offices of up to 10 storeys on the Hawkins House site, and between five and 12 storeys where Apollo House now stands.
The planning permission process is expected to take up to a year.
A spokesperson for the OPW said: “No decision has been made, as yet, as to who will occupy the new building once completed.”
The block would have 60pc more office space and open an "impenetrable block" between Tara Street and College Green, according to the OPW.
The 400 staff currently working in the Health Department are expected to be relocated to the former Bank of Ireland HQ on Baggot Street.
Once works on the development are complete, a government department -most likely Health - will be returned there.
The OPW said the decision to demolish and rebuild will be cost effective in the long-term as it will make more room for staff.
The planning permission is being lodged by Mazars, receivers of Cuprum Properties, acting on behalf of Nama.
Sean Canney, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief ,said Hawkins House is now "obsolete".
"I am delighted that the Office of Public Works has worked in close cooperation with the receivers to Apollo House in developing these planning applications," he said.
"This development represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new, vibrant commercial and government office quarter in the city of Dublin.
"My office works closely with its client departments and it is clear that Hawkins House is now obsolete and no longer meets the demand for modern flexible workspace."
Mr Canney welcomed the development's potential to "free up" buildings across Dublin and make room for pedestrian space.
"The development of this site will provide up to 60pc more office space, will offer significant savings in running costs and will facilitate my office to reach sustainability targets and free up older leased buildings throughout the city," he said.
Hawkins House is on the site of the former Theatre Royal at Tara Street and Poolbeg Street.
The area has been identified in the Dublin City Council George's Quay Local Area Plan as one of significant economic importance to the city, the region and the State.
Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh was heartened by the employment that the development would create.
"This is an exciting project to revitalise key sites in Dublin city, adjacent to Trinity College, and is consistent with the receivers' aim to maximise the return and to deliver much-needed high-quality commercial space that will promote investment, and create jobs," he said.
The joint design team for Hawkins House and Apollo House will coordinate their work.