Restaurant boss in a stew over cinema development plans
The Irish business partner in Marco Pierre White's Dublin restaurant has expressed concern about plans to develop a new cinema near its outlet on Dawson Street.
The owner of the Fitzers catering group, Paddy Fitzpatrick, has questioned if the proposed development of a cinema will have a negative impact on the daytime vibrancy of the area.
Green REIT, the property investment firm, has sought planning permission for a change of use of the lower ground floor of its building on Dawson Street, which also houses the Ivy restaurant.
The cinema, which will contain two auditoriums - a 72-seater and a 51-seater - is to be operated by the UK boutique cinema chain Everyman, in its first expansion into the Irish market.
"The loss of retail use on Dawson Street is a concern in the context of the objective to promote Dawson Street as a secondary retail street within the retail core area and a vital connection and link to Grafton Street," Mr Fitzpatrick said.
The businessman also said Green REIT has provided no evidence to support its claims that there had been efforts over the past three years to let the entire retail unit to a single tenant.
Green REIT added that it had become clear that there was no market demand for a retail unit over two levels, but added it had identified a likely occupant for the ground floor section.
However, Mr Fitzpatrick claimed the entrance and stairwell for the proposed cinema could "prejudice the successful letting of the unit".
He said it was also important for council planners to clarify that there was no pending change of use for the remaining retail unit.
"There is a planning balance to be achieved to ensure that the vibrancy of the street character and the primacy of retail unit on this street, which has national significance in retail hierarchy terms, is maintained," said Mr Fitzpatrick.
The council has sought further information about the project from Green REIT, after an environmental health officer recommended that planning permission be refused as no details about sound insulation had been provided by the developer.
Council planners have said the change in use to a cinema is permitted in principle under the zoning of the area, although the erosion of retail floor space within the development was "regrettable".
A decision on the planning application is expected shortly.