Leinster Rugby set for €26m redevelopment of RDS but the capacity is not what was planned
The RDS is undergoing a facelift but not the same one that was expected.
A planning application has been submitted to Dublin City Council for the redevelopment of the Anglesea Stand, set to cost somewhere in the region of €26 million.
The Ballsbridge location will undergo an improvement on the facilities of the stand and see an increase in the overall capacity of the stadium from 18,500 to 21,000.
However, in 2014, it was said that Leinster Rugby would boast a 25,000-seater stadium after the work had been completed.
Two years ago, the RDS launched an international architectural design competition with a view to upgrading the current facilities and the aim was clear.
Then, in January 2015, when the winners of said competition was announced, Leinster Rugby Chief Executive Mick Dawson trumpeted the same vision for a capacity of 25,000 at the RDS.
"Leinster Rugby has a loyal supporter base and the redeveloped capacity of 25,000 in a purpose built venue will provide greater opportunities for our supporters and commercial operations," Dawson said.
So when planning application was submitted that only promised a 2,500 increase on the current venue, eyebrows were raised.
The consortium of Grimshaw / Newenham Mulligan Architects has been working with the design team to develop the detail of the initial design concept.
Leinster Rugby has since highlighted some of the challenges that they faced in the design and in the development going forward.
The final redevelopment design has to meet the specific requirements of Leinster Rugby, the Dublin Horse Show and other commercial considerations of the RDS, all contained on a tight building footprint and in a busy working environment.
Speaking about today's application for planning permission, Michael Duffy, CEO of the RDS, said: "Designing a stadium to meet the unique design requirements of the RDS Main Arena is a complex and challenging task.
"We have today submitted a planning application for a redeveloped Anglesea Stand which will create a top class experience for visitors and positively impact on the Dublin Horse Show, Leinster Rugby and any other events held in the Main Arena."
A €26 million redevelopment is sure to boost the facilities and experience at the RDS but, unfortunately, only 2,500 more fans will get to experience that on matchday - as opposed to the 6,500 extra that was initially planned.
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