The former Bank of Ireland premises at 19 Eyre Square could soon be transformed into a café after city planners granted planning permission for a change of use of the 151-year-old protected structure.
Located within the Eyre Square architectural conservation area, the five-storey Italianate style building was constructed in 1863. Latterly, it served as the Galway City branch of Halifax Bank, but closed in 2010.
The application for change of use was made by Michael McAteer and Paul McCann, joint receivers, of Shancar Developments, the company set up by developer Gerry Barrett.
The change of use entails a number of physical alterations to the building, including the removal of non-structural wall elements, the replacement of a modern draft lobby, the insertion of a universal access bathroom and the refurbishment of an existing chair lift. The proposed development will seat 66 people.
The applicants initially applied for use as a restaurant or coffee shop, however city planners only granted permission for a coffee shop or café development, as a report furnished with the application stated that the development would “not include any cooking or substantial hot food preparation”.
It is understood that no tenant has been secured for the development as yet.
The decision by city planners to grant permission for the development follows the decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant permission to the same applicants for permission to construct a new entrance building to the Eyre Square shopping centre, adjoining No. 19 Eyre Square.
The new development will see the demolition of the existing entrance building, located beside Ballalley Lane and the former Bureau de Change building adjacent to No. 19 Eyre Square.
These structures will be replaced by a new entrance building, which will be three storeys in height and will feature a screened rooftop plant area in addition to five retail units and a café/restaurant with deck area at first floor level.