The Northern Quarter

  • Location: O'Connell Street
  • Architect: HKR Architects
  • Completed: N/A

The Arnotts department store recently unveiled plans to "transform" the area of Dublin City Centre bounded by Henry Street, O’Connell Street, Abbey Street and Liffey Street. The area, branded as the Northern Quarter, will be redeveloped into a lively new shopping and entertainment area complete with 47 new shops, 17 new cafes, restaurants and bars, 189 apartments and a 152 bed four star hotel.

The Northern Quarter Development Proposal represents a €700 million investment in the heart of the city. Arnotts is now submitting its proposal for planning permission to Dublin City Council. As part of the development plan, Arnotts intends to bring on board a strategic partner, by means of a competition, with the appropriate expertise to develop the Northern Quarter.

The Northern Quarter features mixed-use urban development, providing an integration of retail, residential, leisure and hotel / spa facilities. The main aim of the plan is to recreate Prince’s Street as a fully engaged urban street and pedestrian thoroughfare which will become Dublin’s premier shopping street, connecting the centre of O’Connell Street, through to Henry Street, with a new public square at the centre of the development. At the heart of the development is the inclusion of 189 apartments which will act as a catalyst for further residential elements in the heart of the city.

The proposal includes the provision of 47 new shops and 17 cafes, restaurants and bars.  Williams Lane, connecting to Middle Abbey Street, is re-positioned and revitalised with shopping and leisure frontage and a second lane is added from the square to create new north-south pedestrian routes from Henry Street, through the existing GPO Arcade and the northern extension of Princes’ Street, to middle Abbey Street and beyond.

The revitalisation of Abbey Street will be assisted by the location of a new 152 bed 4-star hotel with frontage on the street, and new retail and café units.   The hotel and spa will offer a premium alternative, based on the urban boutique model, for visitors who want to stay in the heart of Dublin. Another key feature of the development will include the flagship Arnotts store with a new entrance onto the new public square.

Over the longer term, the new Northern Quarter could act as the catalyst for further development in the Lotts Street area adjacent to the Liffey, extending the grain of smaller spaces and lanes across the river from Temple Bar and connecting the north and south central shopping streets.  It also paves the way for a possible new pedestrian bridge in between the existing Ha’penny Bridge and O’Connell Bridge, creating a more engaged matrix of streets north and south of the Liffey, with the river at the heart of Dublin City Centre.

HKR’s design for this project recently received an award for best European Retail Regeneration Project at The EG Retail Awards, MAPIC in Cannes. This award coupled with the granting of planning permission demonstrates that the Northern Quarter project should make a major contribution to the regeneration of Dublin’s north city centre. It recognises that the project is sustainable, respects the quality of the built environment in the wider community and that, over the life of the development, it is sufficiently flexible to respond to changing demands and patterns in retailing.

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Posted by Reflecting City Team on Wednesday, December 17, 2008
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