Monday 18 December 2017

New €40m, 257-bed hotel gets green light in Dublin city centre

Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A €40m 257-bed hotel planned for Dublin city centre has been given the green light.

Planned by the Hodson Bay hotel group, one of the last remaining hotel groups owned by an Irish family, the hotel will be built on a site on Dean Street, close to St Patrick’s Cathedral in the Coombe area of the city.

John O’Sullivan, owner of the hotel group said he hopes to have the hotel up and running within a year of final approval.

The four star hotel is expected to employ up to 200 full time staff in the city. The group has previously stated that the new hotel will be operated under a franchise license with a major brand and due to their existing strong relationship with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the new property is likely to be opened as a Sheraton Hotel.

The development which will adjoin Fallon’s pub, a protected structure, will range in height from three to six stories high comprising of 257 bedrooms, reduced from the planned 263 bedrooms as a condition of planning. It will include a café bar/restaurant along with meeting and conference facilities.

The hotel group currently runs three hotels around the country, the Hodson Bay hotel on the shores of Lough Ree, the Sheraton Athlone hotel and the Galway Bay hotel in Salthill Galway, employing over 550 staff.

The group survived the recession with some forward thinking from its boss. Mr O’Sullivan first became concerned about a looming recession in 2007, preparing plans for a 30pc drop in business and increasing this to a predicted 40pc as the recession took hold. His predictions proved spot on

“It was some wallop, I had 500 mouths to feed and it was 2013 before we saw the first break in the clouds. We focused on quality when everybody else was giving away product. We were basically one of the few family hotel groups that survived the recession,” he said.

For years the group, set up by Mr O’Sullivan and his wife Mary in 1990 avoided the Dublin market due to the excessive costs involved in buying real estate in the city.

However, after earmarking the perfect site for a hotel near St Patrick’s Cathedral, the group spent the past three years working on securing 10 properties in the area.

“It was a domino effect, when you had one secured you were never sure you were going to get the next one. It took a long time to secure them all,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

The hotel boss believes the area is ripe for regeneration with the planned DIT move from various premises in the area to the Grangegorman site freeing up a lot of properties for re-development.

“The location is optimal. We’re seven minutes walk from Stephen’s Green and less that to Temple Bar. It has huge potential,” he added.

Mr O’Sullivan is eager to get moving on the project and is hopeful that any appeal can be dealt with quickly and successfully.

“It will take a year to built it and from the very day it comes out of the board we’re ready to dig,” he said.

Fáilte Ireland welcomed the decision. Chairman Michael Cawley said that the development of a four star hotel of this scale so close to a major tourism attraction such as St Patricks Cathedral, together with the recent opening of Teelings Distillery and the Dublin City Council plans for Newmarket Square are major steps towards the development of a world class centre for culture and heritage in the heart of the city.

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