Irish

Saturday 26 July 2014

Council scuppers Fernandes' plan for new Ormond

John Mulligan

Published 13/02/2014|02:30

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ORMOND HOTEL
Ormond Hotel, Dublin

A €15m plan by investors including AirAsia boss and Queen's Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes to demolish the capital's Ormond Hotel to build a new hotel on the site have been shot down by Dublin City Council.

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Mr Fernandes and shareholders in Monteco Holdings had wanted to construct a new five and six-storey property with 170 bedrooms in what would have been one of the latest plays by foreign investors in Dublin's resurgent hotel sector.

But a number of well-known individuals and organisations voiced concerns over the plans by Mr Fernandes, including Mannix Flynn, Ciaran Cuffe and the James Joyce Centre.

The Ormond Hotel, while far from being one of the more attractive properties on Dublin's quays, holds a special place in the capital's history due to its inclusion as a location in James Joyce's 'Ulysses'.

An Taisce described it as a "rare surviving building type" in the capital, while architect Mr Cuffe, a former Green Party TD and minister of state, asked that the council reject the proposals because of their scale and their "incompatibility" with the property's conservation status in the city.

Monteco Holdings acquired the Ormond Hotel for just €2m. That compares to the €17m that developer Bernard McNamara paid for the property in 2006. But the council has said that the current plans for the redevelopment would "seriously injure" the amenities of nearby residential premises, and that the proposed new facade for the premises is a "monolithic design" with "unsympathetic proportions" that would disturb the "surviving grain, rhythm and character" of Ormond Quay Upper.

It's believed that Monteco Holdings wanted to develop a 'Tune' hotel, a concept that provides five-star service at budget prices.

Monteco Holdings is controlled by Malaysian businessman Lim Kian Onn via a direct shareholding in the vehicle, and shares held through Singapore-based Plato Capital and Vindelta, which is based in the British Virgin Islands and controlled by him and his wife. It's understood that Mr Fernandes still has an interest in Monteco, however, possibly via Plato Capital.

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