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February 8, 2009

Dundrum architect in examinership

 Douglas Wallace Architects & DesignersThe architecture firm behind the Dundrum Town Centre and the G Hotel in Galway has gone into examinership after suffering from a dramatic decline in its business. Douglas Wallace Architects & Designers, one of the biggest architecture practices in the country, petitioned the High Court last week to be placed into examinership, in an effort to avoid liquidation. Ken Fennell, a partner in accountancy firm Kavanagh Fennell, has been installed as interim examiner, and a full hearing on the petition will be heard in the coming days. The court heard that the firm had a reasonable chance of survival if the examiner secured new investment and restructured its debts. Douglas Wallace employed almost 200 people at its peak, and has operations in Dublin, Belfast, London and Prague.

The company said it had revenues of €15 million last year, but that it would fall to about €7 million this year due to the downturn in the construction sector. As a result, the company said it was unable to meet its historic liabilities. The firm’s directors do not intend to place either the London or Prague office into examinership. Headed by Hugh Wallace, Douglas Wallace expanded over the past ten years, opening offices overseas and acquiring other architectural firms. In 2007, it bought the specialist interior design and architecture division of the London-based Corporate Edge Group, and also took over Ferguson Wheeler in Belfast.

The Sunday Business Post