Pro IQRA News Updates.
The cost of developing a civic square for College Green in Dublin is set to skyrocket, with Dublin City Council announcing a €10m contract for its design, which does not cover construction costs.
Previous plans for the pedestrian and cycle arena, which were submitted to An Bord Pleanála in 2017, gave an estimated cost of €10 million by the council. However, this figure was to cover both the design and construction of the scheme.
The new bid announced by the council this week will cover only its design, with an indicative value of €10m, excluding VAT. The council said the construction contract would be announced at a later date through a “separate tender”.
The new bid covers an area larger than the plaza designed six years ago by a team led by Paul Keogh Architects. These plans, which were rejected by An Bord Pleanála in 2018 largely due to traffic concerns, would have seen the end of the square near Anglesea Street, first turned into Temple Bar west of College Green. The turning circle was in place at this point for buses to return to Dam Street.
However, the council announced two years ago that the NTA’s redesign of the bus network would allow it to significantly increase the traffic-free zone, extending it along Dam Street as far as South Great George Street.
The council was expected to submit a new planning application for the arena last year, but said last November that the application would be delayed until this year, with a view to starting work in 2024.
But last July, it emerged that the council had terminated its contract with Paul Keogh Architects due to conflicts with EU procurement rules. The council said this was because the size, scope and cost of the project had increased to such an extent that it was outside the terms of the scheme the firm of architects had been appointed to design.
The board said Friday that the new contract was for “a multidisciplinary design team for the College Green Dame Street Public Realm project and other additional projects associated with the College Green Dame Street Public Realm project.” It said the €10m in contract notice was “a symbolic figure to cover the value of all design team appointments that may be made under this framework”. The company said: “The construction of the College Green Dam Street project will be contracted through a separate tender.”
The tender documents also state that €10 million is the “maximum estimated value” for the design team’s services and “it is emphasized that this figure is given strictly for indicative purposes only as there are no guaranteed expenses under the framework.”
Patricia Reddy, the council’s project manager on the square scheme, said in October that changes to the scope of the project meant the council could face the risk of a legal challenge if it did not re-announce the design contract. She said the board would “set specific timelines once this design team is in place”.