Thursday 18 April 2019

US embassy building needs to be protected

Dublin's landmark US embassy building could be added to the list of protected structures, severely restricting its development potential.

The distinctively shaped edifice in posh Ballsbridge would be one of the most valuable sites in the country if it came on the open market.


But prospective bidders might be put off if it meant they could only redevelop the building by adhering to strict conditions.

The embassy confirmed recently that a move from its current location in Dublin 4 is under consideration.

However, a councillor for the area has now tabled a motion calling for the building to become a listed structure.

The item was tabled by Councillor Mary Freehill of Labour for Monday's meeting of the south-east area committee.

Cllr Freehill's motion, which is believed to have the support of other members, states "the US embassy on Pembroke Road is a building of special merit" and "is one of the best examples of 1960s architecture".

The Labour representative added, "now that the embassy plan to vacate this premises in the near future", the committee should agree that "Dublin City Council commence a listing process on the US embassy building and curtilage, which would take effect when it is no longer in use as an embassy".


Ms Freehill told the Herald the council cannot list a building that is used as an embassy so it has to wait until the officials move out for it to happen.

If it is eventually added to the list, only minimal changes to the structure will be allowed under planning regulations.

Embassy officials are looking for a new home in Dublin as the current building, which opened in 1964, is now considered to be too small.

Already, premises close to the Guinness brewery in St James's Gate in Dublin city and a site in Ballymun have been inspected as possible alternatives.

The Ballsbridge embassy was placed on the US state department's list of overseas buildings which are no longer suitable.

However, there is no indication as yet about when the move might take place.


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