Thursday 19 April 2018

Center Parcs to open €100m holiday resort park in Longford

Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

ONE of Britain's biggest holiday resort firms - Center Parcs UK - is to open a €100m complex in Longford, in a move that could create 500 jobs.

It is in talks with Coillte over a site near Ballymahon, Co. Longford in a move that could be a boost for the midlands region and could create a further 600 jobs in the construction stages.

It is understood that the company intends to lease over 350 acres of mature and semi-mature forestry at Newcastle, near Ballymahon and Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to announce more details later this week.

The resort will include over 200 lodges and villas including a swimming pool complex and spas - with planning permission already lodged.

It will also contain restaurants and bars and it is located near the River Inny - in the biggest ever tourism plan for the area.

Late last year, Martin Dalby, the group’s chief executive, said expansion in Ireland was on the cards.

“Our focus had always been to get Woburn open and get everything settled and we are still in the process of bedding it into the core operation,” he said.

"But the Irish market appears very attractive. We have had some very preliminary discussions around Ireland so I think our attention may well turn to Ireland as we look forward to the future. We’ve had a chat with the tourist board and people like that to see how the land lies.”

Center Parcs is owned by private equity fund Blackstone, although the company is looking to sell the business.

It is understood that two of China’s main billionaires could clash in a global takeover battle for the resort operator.

Wang Jianli and Guo Guangchang are understood to be in the early stages of bidding for Center Parcs.

Other potential bidders include the owners of the Formula 1 franchise.

The company operates in other parts of Europe under different ownership.

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