Wednesday 18 October 2017

Lone Star plan opposed by Westbury and the Gaiety

The Westbury Hotel
The Westbury Hotel
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Dublin's five-star Westbury Hotel and the Gaiety Theatre's owner Denis Desmond are vying to prevent a unit of US investment giant Lone Star from demolishing an existing building and constructing a new six-storey office, retail and apartment complex in the city centre.

The Westbury, owned by the Doyle and Beatty families, has told An Bord Pleanála that the planned development on nearby Chatham Street could have a "seriously negative impact" on its business. High-profile planning firm John Spain Associates has told the watchdog that the new office block would have "serious impacts" on the Gaiety Theatre, a protected structure.

The property was acquired by Lone Star as one of a parcel of loans that was sold by Anglo Irish Bank, later IBRC.

Lone Star unit Adelaide Real Estate Investment applied for planning permission last December to demolish the building at Chatham Court, and Dublin City Council granted permission for the redevelopment in May. "There is a duty to on the owner or occupier of the Gaiety Theatre to ensure that the special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural and social interest is not endangered," said the agents for the Gaiety company.

They claimed that the theatre company had unsuccessfully tried to reach agreement with the Lone Star unit on the redevelopment.

Live Nation, the US entertainment giant that owns Ticketmaster and the 3Arena in Dublin, has also rowed into the row. Live Nation has a joint venture with Mr Desmond's Gaiety Investment and manages the Gaiety. Consultants for Live Nation have also raised concerns over how the redevelopment of Chatham Court will impact the theatre.

The Westbury said it's particularly concerned about the planned development stage of the scheme and how that might impact its guests as well as traffic flow around the hotel. Consultants for the hotel said it attracts about 500,000 visitors a year, 99,000 of whom actually stay overnight at the property.

Irish Independent

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