Sunday 22 September 2019

Period Dublin city hostel with potential for €5.25m

Listed structure: 41 to 43 North Great George's Street in Dublin
Listed structure: 41 to 43 North Great George's Street in Dublin
Donal Buckley

Donal Buckley

Three interconnecting Georgian buildings with a €5.25m guide price have been brought to the market at 41 to 43 North Great George's Street, Dublin 1. The street is best known for its famous resident, Senator David Norris.

Currently operated as the MEC Hostel with 160 beds, the property is available as a going concern or with vacant possession.

Manus Agnew, of agents Quinn Agnew, says "the beauty of this property is the large, vacant accommodation which provides easy expansion possibilities to provide over 300 beds".

The Barrow family has operated the hostel known as MEC Hostel (Mount Eccles Court). Extending to a gross internal area of about 37,000sq ft, the hostel is located in numbers 41 and 42 as well as in two floors of number 43 North Great George's Street.

On its top floor, Number 43 accommodates a three-bedroom apartment and this building also accommodates a former chapel and has some very large rooms.

Mr Agnew says that the expansion of the hostel could be accommodated on the first and ground floors of this building which was a former school and has some of the largest rooms of any Georgian house in Dublin.

Mr Agnew says the property is also open to alternative uses subject to planning permission. Listed structures for conservation, they feature a former chapel with its stained glass window, many original Georgian features such as ornamental plasterwork, cornicing and marble fireplaces, and so they could be adapted to a wedding venue. Other possibilities include a boutique hotel or multi-unit residential investment.

The lot also includes the benefit of four car parking spaces. Mr Agnew cites Bord Fáilte research as saying that Dublin hostels are experiencing strong demand from tourists and in 2018 hostel bed occupancy in Dublin was as high as 70pc.

Once owned by the Eccles family and subsequently by the protestant Archbishop of Cashel, later for more than 100 years it was owned by the Loreto order of nuns which established Kenmare school for girls. The Loreto sisters sold it to its current owners who established a Montessori play school and the MEC hostel.

Over the centuries, North Great George's Street has had a number of famous residents. At one time the neighbouring number 35 was the townhouse of the Earls of Kenmare.

After Mr Norris began his campaign in the 1970s to protect houses on the street, it became a very fashionable place for people in the artistic, music and writing professions to live.

Indeed during the Celtic Tiger period, a number of the houses attracted some investors who undertook major conservation works on them.

This part of the city, east of O'Connell Street, has seen some major urban renewal projects in recent times including student housing and hotels.

It also looks set to benefit from Dublin City Council's designation of nearby Parnell Square as a new cultural quarter incorporating the Hugh Lane Gallery, The Writers' Museum, a new public library and public plaza as well as the restoration of a number of Georgian houses.

Meanwhile on the southern end of the street along the eastern side of Parnell Street a number of Asian restaurants have opened giving rise to the informal renaming of Parnell Street as Dublin's answer to Chinatown.

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