Monday 19 March 2018

Ex-Coke boss puts fizz back into Dublin's CHQ building with new microbrewery

The historic CHQ building
The historic CHQ building
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Former Coca-Cola boss Neville Isdell is putting a different kind of fizz into Dublin's CHQ building, with plans for a new microbrewery at the landmark property, which now houses the Epic Ireland emigration museum.

The company behind the CHQ building, CHQ Dublin, has secured permission from Dublin City Council for the microbrewery at the early 19th century warehouse, which Mr Isdell, inset - who hails from Co Down - bought in 2013 for €10m.

The latest plans for CHQ, which is in the International Financial Services Centre, include an internal revamp that would see a new mezzanine level added, as well as the introduction of the microbrewery, which would allow for the on-site production and sale of craft beers.

Urban Brewing, a company owned by Carlow-based freight agent Victor Treacy and Dublin-based Jim O'Hara, has been secured as a tenant and will operate the microbrewery. It will also open a bar/restaurant at the site. Both Mr O'Hara and Mr Treacy are also involved in the Carlow Craft Brewery.

CHQ told Dublin City Council that the introduction of Urban Brewer to the venue would "provide another high-quality use at the CHQ building, with clear linkages to the visitor/tourism use of Epic Ireland".

The CHQ was redeveloped at a cost of €45m by the now defunct Dublin Docklands Development Authority. It opened in 2007.

But it had failed to live up to expectations, dogged by low footfall and a lack of retail tenants.

Mr Isdell has revitalised the building, which was once used to store wine and tobacco that was offloaded at the quayside.

Neville Isdell
Neville Isdell

He spent €12m developing the Epic Ireland venture, which opened last year. He also introduced Dogpatch Labs - a working space for tech startups. New retailers have opened at CHQ.

Mr Isdell, who stepped down as Coca-Cola ceo in 2008, previously stated that he hoped the Epic attraction would lure about 400,000 visitors a year. CHQ also noted that it intends to shortly launch a food market at the premises.

Mr Isdell, who left Ireland when he was 10 years old, is now based in Barbados.

He said in an interview with the Irish Independent last year that he put in a bid for the CHQ building before he even saw it.

"It was a ghost town," he said of the premises, "but I had a feeling about it.

"If you're going to be successful, you have to take risks."

Irish Independent

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