PLANS FOR A new Dublin city centre hotel beside department store Arnotts have been given the all-clear by the local council.
Earlier this year, property developer Noel Smyth applied for planning permission to develop the tourism complex on lands spread across Abbey Street Middle and Henry Street.
According to the plans filed by Fitzwilliam Real Estate Development Limited, a number of structures will be demolished, including the top three open-air levels of Arnotts’ car park.
The site will be turned into a 257-bedroom hotel that features a restaurant and public bar. According to documents filed, the new 10,000 sq m hotel will be accessible from William’s Lane.
Smyth has already received permission for another hotel development nearby.
Last year, a separate firm owned by Smyth applied to construct a nine-storey hotel on a site at the junction of Liffey Street Upper and Middle Abbey Street. Documents note it would be operated by German discount brand Motel One.
The proposed hotel received the all-clear from the council, however the local authority ordered the developer to scale back the project from the original 365-bedroom plan to 310 rooms.
There were two objections lodged against the newly approved plan to replace parts of the Arnotts’ car park with a large hotel.
One complainant noted they were the “long-term” lease holder for a property on the development site and wished to renew this arrangement.
“I purchased these leases for a substantial sum in the 1980s then invested heavily in reconstruction and renovation of the property,” he said.
They claimed they are entitled to a new lease, for up to 35 years, when the current arrangement expires in 2020 and “will contest the matter as necessary”.
Recently, Dublin council noted it was worried about an over-saturation of hotel developments in the city’s north inner city and claimed it could lead to an “excessively transient population” in the area.
Despite the objections and its own reservations, the local authority has granted approval for the hotel.
City centre property
Smyth, a solicitor-turned-developer, owns an extensive portfolio of property in the vicinity of Arnotts. He acquired the lands following his firm’s involvement in the acquisition of debts connected with the retailer after the financial crash.
Selfridges purchased Arnotts department store nearly three years ago, but Smyth’s Fitzwilliam group retained control of a number of properties in the area.
His hotel plans for the city centre sites have come at a time when Dublin hotels are registering record profits.
The spike in business in the tourism accommodation trade has been fueled by room rates in the Irish capital reaching a record high, with the sector also running at near peak capacity during traditionally busy times of the year.
These trends have attracted players like Motel One and EasyHotel to the Irish market, while current players in the market also have plans to scale up their presence.
A recent report published by Fáilte Ireland said that there are plans for 5,000 new hotel rooms to be built in Dublin in the coming years.