Saturday 25 October 2014

Top Kilkenny hotel sells for €9m with William Neville taking the reins

Peter Flanagan Commercial Property Editor

Published 15/05/2014 | 02:30

The Kilkenny River Court Hotel in the heart of Kilkenny City.

ONE of the top hotels in Kilkenny has been sold for more than €9m.

Wexford-based hotelier William Neville & Company has agreed terms to take over the Kilkenny River Court Hotel in the heart of Kilkenny City.

The hotel went on the market last October for sale by private treaty. The property had expected to fetch in the region of €7.5m.

The hotel was a sister of the nearby Lyrath Estate Hotel under former owner Xavier McAuliffe. Kieran Wallace of KPMG was appointed as receiver over the business in July 2012, however.

The hotel is seen as having a "superb trading location" in the centre of the city. It was built from new and opened for business in June 1999 and has since established itself as "one of the most successful and profitable hotel operations in Ireland", said agents CBRE.

Seamus and Therese Neville led the purchaser's negotiating team and this acquisition will complement the other hotels within the Neville Group – the Royal Marine in Dun Laoghaire and the Riverside Hotel in Enniscorthy.

The property is described as being well maintained and regularly refurbished over the years and is said to be one of the most highly regarded four-star hotels in this south-east region.

Facilities include 90 "well-appointed" ensuite bedrooms and suites, a restaurant, bar and outdoor terrace area facing the castle, extensive wedding/ conference/banqueting suites and a leisure centre with indoor pool.

This is the first of the major hotels in the Kilkenny region to come to the market in six years, and that scarcity is likely to push up the final price. It will also be seen as a key barometer of the provincial hotel market. Interest was much higher than had been expected.

CBRE's Dermot Curtin, who was acting as agent for the sale, commented: "Bringing the Kilkenny River Court to the market was a real test of the market outside Dublin, and the excellent response and the interest in this hotel from a large number of investors has highlighted the strength of demand for well-located, modern and profitable hotel operations in our larger provincial centres.

POTENTIAL

"From the outset there was immediate interest in this hotel from a wide selection of potential investors – both Irish and international.

"In this case, the outcome proved a winner for an Irish purchaser in the Neville Group, who showed that, given the opportunity, there are active and well-funded Irish purchasers out there when the right product comes to the market," he said.

"With long-standing barriers to entry to the Kilkenny city centre hotel market – no Kilkenny hotels of this quality have been offered to the market since as far back as 2007 – this sale obviously captured the attention of investors as it offered a unique opportunity to immediately establish a very strong foothold in the upper end of the lucrative Kilkenny hotel market," Mr Curtin added.

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