A FOUR-STAR HOTEL in Galway will close its doors next year and be redeveloped as accommodation for hundreds of students.
Local businessman Terry Sweeney has sold the Westwood Hotel in Newcastle, Galway, to UK student accommodation giant Ziggurat, one wing of asset-management firm Atelier Property. The price paid for the property wasn’t disclosed.
It is planned that the hotel, which has about 70 staff, will be redeveloped and the site will host 400 student beds. A statement from Ziggurat said that the hotel will continue to operate as normal “to early 2018″.
“The ongoing operation of the Westwood Hotel provides total reassurance for guests, staff and suppliers for what is forecast to be a very busy year,” the statement said.
“A plan is in place for an orderly and planned transition which will take place in early 2018.”
Accounts for the company behind the Westwood hotel show that it in the year to the end of February 2016 it made a loss of just under €100,000. It had accumulated losses of €10.5 million at the end of the period.
Atelier’s CEO Matthew McAdden said the company was looking forward to working with NUI Galway, the local council and residents “to deliver an attractive scheme for this property”.
“We are working toward building completion for summer 2018 to allow for intake of students in September 2018. We will reveal (concept drawings) and building details on our website in the coming months,” he said.
The development will be Ziggurat’s first foray into Galway after announcing a big move into the Irish student accommodation market last year.
McAdden previously told Fora that the firm is looking to develop an estimated 4,000 new student units in Dublin, Cork and Galway.
In addition, the company is also looking to operate and manage an additional 4,000 student accommodation units in Ireland that would be built by other firms.
Ziggurat, which already operates two properties in Cork, recently announced plans to develop several sites in Dublin, including a 380-bed facility in Dublin’s north inner city, a 420-bed centre adjacent to the DIT Grangegorman campus.
The company is one of several foreign firms moving into the Irish student-accommodation market amid hot demand for more beds in college hot-spots.
The head of the Irish arm of US real estate giant Hines told Fora last week that the company is hoping to build up a portfolio of thousands of student beds in the Dublin market over the next few years.