Developer Noel Smyth gets go-ahead for ‘lean luxury’ hotel over Arnotts store in Dublin

Nine-storey build will be run by Munich-based Ruby Hotels

Nine-storey hotel will be at site of the Arnotts store on Henry Street in Dublin

Gordon Deegan

Noel Smyth’s Fitzwilliam Real Estate has secured the green light for a nine-storey, 245-bedroom ‘lean luxury’ hotel over Arnotts in Dublin.

Dublin City Council (DCC) has given the scheme the go-ahead after concluding that the planned hotel “will contribute to the regeneration and will have a positive impact on the surrounding area”.

The council also stated that the scheme is “unlikely to impact negatively on the amenities of properties in the vicinity”.

The hotel scheme involves a two-storey element with set-backs over Arnotts and a three-storey element with setbacks over the department store’s multi-storey car park.

The hotel proposal will involve the demolition and decommissioning of the top three open air levels of the multi-storey car park resulting in the removal of 145 car spaces.

Planning documents lodged with the scheme state that Fitzwilliam Real Estate owns the Arnotts store’s ‘air rights’ allowing the firm to lodge the application for the above-Arnotts portion of the scheme.

Planning consultants for the hotel firm, Tom Phillips + Associates have told the council that it is intended for Ruby Hotels to be the operator of the scheme.

Associate with Tom Phillips + Associates, Síne Kelly said that Ruby Hotels are a Munich-based hotel group “who host a contemporary, affordable form of luxury style of hospitality”.

Ms Kelly said there are currently 15 Ruby Hotels in operation around Europe and an additional 18 under construction. She also pointed out that Ruby Hotels “have a lean luxury philosophy for streamlining their hotel layouts and space”. Ms Kelly contended that the proposed development will facilitate the provision of high-quality hotel development with an experienced, dedicated operator.

The grant of planning follows DCC’s refusal of planning permission to Fitzwilliam Real Estate for a 12-storey, 159-unit build-to-rent scheme on the same site in January. The council pointed out that there is a general presumption against large-scale developments which comprise entirely of build-to-rent units.

The Smyth firm did have existing planning permission for a hotel at the site since 2018 but Covid-19 prevented the firm commencing work “in a timely fashion” necessitating the lodging of the new plan.