Dunnes Stores unhappy with Point Square’s architectural quality, court says

Dunnes Stores is unhappy with the quality of the architecture of a communal square in the Point Village development on Dublin Docks, the Commercial Court has heard.

Dunnes has brought proceedings against Point Village Development Ltd (PVDL) seeking to have the ‘Point Square’ completed in accordance with a clause in an agreement on the development.

It says the clause requires work in the square to be of a “first class standard appropriate for a prestigious shopping centre” similar to Eyre Square in Galway, Grand Canal Square Dublin and Dundrum Town Center Civic Plaza.

The proceedings are in the context of a long-running dispute between PVDL trustees and Dunnes over the opening of an anchor Dunnes store in the development.

The completion of Point Square will be a milestone in relation to a previous agreement between the parties to release €3 million to PVDL from a joint escrow account.

Dunnes contends, however, that PVDL has failed, refused or refused to ensure that Point Square is completed to the standard required by the development agreement and asks the court to determine the problem.

PVDL says the square has been finished for several years and claimed, two years after it first raised the issue, that the work was not “aesthetically pleasing enough”, nor had it suffered loss or damage as a result.

An application by PVDL to initiate contempt proceedings against Dunnes for allegedly failing to comply with previous court orders to carry out a fit-out of the anchor store will be heard by the Commercial Court in July.

Martin Hayden SC, for Dunnes, seeking to have the latest case admitted to Commercial Court, said Dunnes “doesn’t have to open any shop” until the work is completed to standards, regardless of whether the shop is equipped.

PVDL’s John Lavelle BL opposed placing the case on the commercial list saying there was no commercial urgency and because of Dunnes’ delay in initiating proceedings.

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He said this was in the context of litigation that has been going on for 13 years, with the issue involving Point Square for nine years and Dunnes failing to equip the anchor store since 2016.

Despite final court orders on the fit-out issue, Dunnes has yet to take any steps in that direction and his attorney has made it clear that he has no intention of negotiating, even if he does fit out the store. He also says that he has the right to immediately close the new store if he wishes, he said.

Judge Denis McDonald admitted Dunnes’ proceedings to the fast-track trade list on Monday. He said it was in everyone’s interest that the question of whether the dispute should be sent for expert determination be resolved as soon as possible.

It was “really a very sad picture” where there was so much litigation between two business entities in relation to such a development, he said.

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