A computer generated image showing what the development would look like.

New nine-storey office block could cater for 500 workers

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) firms and blue chip companies look likely to be the targets to occupy a new landmark office building rising to nine storeys, approved for Athlone in recent days.

This multimillion euro investment would make it one of town's tallest buildings, behind the 12-storey Sheraton Hotel in the centre of town.

The developers, Longford-based Avenir Assets Management DAC, got the green light from Westmeath County Council for the new office development on a strategic site, just off the N55 Ballymahon Road roundabout and the N6, which could cater for 500 workers on August 11 last.

That was despite Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) saying if approved it would have an “adverse impact” on the national road and associated junction.

Spanning 10,137 square metres in total, the project is located on a prominent two-acre site, accessed via the Brawney Road, on the approach to Athlone Regional Sports Centre and new Athlone Tennis Club development and Athlone GAA.

It is located on the southeast side of Junction 10 on the N6 dual carriageway where the N55 meets the N6, and is bound to the south by Brawney Road, to the west by the N55, to the north by a slip road off the N6 and to the east by a narrow strip of undeveloped land.

The idea driving the prospect is that in a Post-Covid landscape many FDI companies and blue chip firms will be looking for a regional presence, and Athlone is a designated Regional Growth Centre in government policy. It will be designed to include office space, meeting rooms, staff welfare, reception and service areas.

In all, it will consist of two blocks - Block A, which would be seven storeys, and Block B, of nine storeys and a three-storey car park.

There will also be an "interconnecting link bridge between the first and sixth floor levels and outdoor terrace at sixth floor in Block A and eighth floor in Block B."

A "three-storey parking deck" with 199 spaces, new entrances and internal access road, and 240 bicycle parking spaces also form major elements of the landmark project.

The Lissywollen South Area Plan stated that a commercial building on this site adjacent to the N6, “should be of notable design” to mark its prominent location close to different axis points. The award-winning Henry J Lyons Architects in Dublin is responsible for the design of the eye-catching plans.

Westmeath County Council rubberstamped the approval decision subject to compliance with 16 conditions, including the payment of €233,151 in a development contribution to the council, and that the parking is solely for use by the office accommodation.

A computer generated image of what the office project would look like, just off the Brawney Road.

A road safety audit must be undertaken prior to its first occupation.

Another condition is that prior to the start of the project the developer should give 30 days notice to the property management branch of the Department of Defence for the use of any cranes, a request from the Irish Aviation Authority in a submission so as not to affect aircraft from nearby Custume Barracks.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage requested in a submission that an Archaelogical Impact Assessment be prepared for the site, something that is also must be undertaken before any work can begin as part of the conditions laid down by the locall authority.