Abandoned eye-sore, the Sentinel building in Sandyford is finally set to be completed, but the plans have been described as being “effectively bedsits”.
The 13-storey building was left unfinished when Cork developer John Fleming declared bankruptcy in England due to debts of more than €1 billion in 2010.
The site remained idle and was first declared derelict in late 2013, when the building was bought by Galway developers, the Comer Brothers.
There have long been calls for the building to be completed – it was branded as a “tragedy waiting to happen” in May of last year as a number of teens gained access to the site and posted photos on the 12th storey.
The council has now granted permission to Dante Property Company, owned by the Comer Brothers, to finish the tower block. It is to be redeveloped as 300 “office suites” with sleeping facilities for workers.
It is planned that each unit will measure 28sqm, (12sq m smaller than the minimum size of a studio apartment), and come with a kitchenette, bathroom and “overnight stay” amenities.
It is unclear if workers will live in the building on a permanent basis. Eva Dowling, the Green Party’s area representative for Stillorgan, said that the developer has managed to “avoid complying with the building standards for residential units by designing a stack of tiny offices fitted with showers, kitchenettes and pull-out beds”.
“This looks suspiciously like 300 bedsits disguised as ultramodern offices,” she said.
She warned that although planning permission has been granted for the new plans, the developer has been given another five to ten years to complete the building.
“The developer should have been forced long ago to either complete or else demolish this eyesore.
“The planning office has told me that they have no enforcement powers to compel a developer to complete a building. This needs to change. Nobody should be allowed to litter the skyline for decades with half built rubbish.”