Thursday 22 March 2018

D4 hotels site on sale for less than half the Celtic Tiger price tag

Sean Dunne
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

A site containing two of the top hotels in the country has been put up for sale at a fraction of its price in the Celtic Tiger years.

The Clyde Court Hotel and Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin are expected to fetch between €120m and €150m.

At €150m, the sale price would be less than half the €379m paid by the developer Sean Dunne for what was then the Berkeley Court and Jurys Hotels in 2005.

The deal could spell the end of the line for the hotels, which have been institutions in Dublin social life for decades, with redevelopment likely. The site has full planning permission for 490 apartments, a 152-room hotel and 77,000 sq ft of retail and commercial development.

Property firms Savills and Eastdil Secured will conduct the sale. Ulster Bank and Rabobank control the company that owns the property.

Project Trinity, as the property is known, is likely to attract a number of bidders from Ireland and overseas.

US billionaire John Malone has bought several hotels, including the nearby Intercontinental Hotel. Among the other potential bidders, the US private equity giant Blackstone owns the former Burlington Hotel and the Hume House office block next door to the Ballsbridge Hotel.

Several Irish bidders are expected as well. Given the fact that the property includes scope for construction, hotels and apartments, developers and specialists are also likely to be interested in the deal.

The hotels became icons of the boom when Mr Dunne bought them in two separate deals in 2005. At the time, the €57m per acre price was close to a record for an Irish property deal.

He planned to build a 37-floor apartment tower on the site among other buildings, but planning restrictions and the crash ensured that never got off the ground. Ulster Bank and Rabobank took control of the properties in 2009.

In a statement, Savills and Eastdil said the planned development was "laid out in 12 distinct blocks, some of which are stand-alone pavilion-style residential buildings with gardens fronting Lansdowne and Pembroke Roads.

"New terraced apartment buildings will form around new landscaped courtyards and gardens, with a large retail centre and a stand-alone hotel fronting a new plaza onto Pembroke Road. The new building form echoes the existing villas and terraces of the surrounding streets and squares," they added.

Savills' Tom Barrett said there was "no other opportunity" of this size in Dublin.

Irish Independent

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