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Francis Street under major changes

The development of an ‘aparthotel’ on the site of the old Tivoli theatre is under way, while Francis Street is still awaiting its revamp. 

The former Tivoli site bought by StayCity, Irish aparthotel operator, is being transformed into a 242-bed aparthotel, with accompanying restaurant and other retail units, together with an exhibition and performance spaces in newly built Tivoli Square.  

Plans for Tivoli Square include internal and external exhibition and performance spaces for the community.  

Work ongoing at the former Tivoli site. Photo by Orla Whelan.

According to StayCity spokesperson, it is hoped that such development of new cultural spaces will bring a diverse mix of live performance, visual art and theatre as well as business, community and corporate events.  

“With the cultural backdrop of the theatre being on this site since the 1930’s the previous owner who secured the planning permission was keen to ensure the cultural aspect continued,” the spokesperson of StayCity said. 

StayCity is promising to have the aparthotel with all its units opened by late 2020, with the development value expected to exceed €70 million.  

“Staycity is currently working with an events and restaurant group to develop a concept for the location,” said the spokesperson. 

Not all promised developments in Francis Street are under way, as Francis Street is still waiting for its long promised revamp. 

According to Bryan Lions from Dublin City Council, the detailed design for the Francis Street Environmental Improvement Scheme has been finalised and an invitation to tender for construction will be issued in the coming weeks.  

“It is likely that the main paving work will begin in spring 2020 and will continue through the year,” Mr Lions said. 

The development of Francis Street was proposed in 2018 and was seen as one of the most important projects in the Liberties Greening Strategy. 

“The Francis Street Environmental Improvement Scheme will see wider pavements and more generous public realm for pedestrians,” said Mr Lions.  

The plans include the creation of new granite stone thresholds to highlight the Iveagh Market  and St Nicholas de Myra Church, as well as new street furniture, lightning and landscaping along the street. 

Martin Fennelly, the owner of an antique shop in Francis Street, views Francis Street development positively, but says that newly opened restaurants and pubs will bring threat to traditional street businesses. 

“I don’t think they thought it through. The street will be busy, but it will be much different. The street is like this because of the people that made it like this. Now they might make it look prettier, but that will not come from the local people,” Fennelly said. 

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