New York city planners have expressed concerns about plans from Sean Dunne and his family to build a downtown Manhattan apartment block.

A company headed up by Sean Dunne's son John plans to turn into a site in Soho into luxury apartments making a profit of around €2.5 million.

However, a requirement for more outdoor space could reduce their profits to just a few hundred thousand euro.

The TJD21 company bought the site last year for about €3.5m. The company's controlling shareholder is John Dunne.

His father Sean, who is engaged in bankruptcy dealings on both sides of the Atlantic, has admitted to having a role in the project, while his wife has an ownership interest

The project came before the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals for its first public planning hearing today.

Despite an earlier appearance, no member of the Dunne family was in the room for their case.

The hearing was technical, with considerable concerns raised by the commissioners that the yard space at the back of the apartment block would be too small, at 20ft instead of the preferred 30ft.

A lawyer representing TJD21 told the hearing that the project would not be financially feasible if the yard space was increased.

Documents presented to the planning authorities showed that if the space at the rear of the building was increased, then profits on the project would be dramatically decreased, from a proposed €2.5m to just under €400,000.

The project involves an apartment building comprising five floors of luxury apartments, with two floors of retail space - at the ground and basement levels, located in the historic Cast Iron district of Soho.