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Green light is given for €10m Mercantile revamp


Expansion: The Mercantile pub and hotel on Dame Street, Dublin

Expansion: The Mercantile pub and hotel on Dame Street, Dublin

Expansion: The Mercantile pub and hotel on Dame Street, Dublin

The Mercantile Group has secured planning permission for a planned €10m revamp of the Mercantile Hotel.

An Bord Pleanála gave the green light to the expansion of the pub and hotel on 24-28 Dame Street. The plan will increase the number of bedrooms from 28 to 109.

The group - which counts Café en Seine, Whelan's and The George in its growing portfolio of entertainment venues - is expanding the hotel following the purchase of Dame House. That building was acquired for €7.5m in 2017.

The plan had been stalled by Dublin personal injury solicitor John Synnott after he appealed the Dublin City Council decision to grant to An Bord Pleanála.

In his appeal, Mr Synnott said: "I currently occupy a number of rooms on the first floor of Dame House and I am not planning to leave my business premises.

"I clearly indicated that I have a long-term lease that ensures my continued occupation of my premises is protected."

Mr Synnott said that because he had indicated he could foresee a situation whereby a redevelopment of the hotel could go ahead with him remaining in situ, he believed the planning authority should have taken this on board and explored this avenue. "Or at the very least addressed it in their assessment of the planning application," he said.

Mr Synnott said that his concerns were not addressed in the assessment by Dublin City Council.

The Mercantile Group told the board that the tenancy of the building is a legal agreement between the landlord and the tenant and any disputes over this are a separate legal matter.

Appeals board inspector Irené McCormack agreed with the Mercantile Group on this point.

Ms McCormack said that the planning system is not designed as a mechanism for resolving disputes about title to land or premises or rights over land; these are ultimately matters for resolution in the courts.

Recommending that planning be granted, Ms McCormack said that the proposed development would provide for a strong and architecturally appropriate building on this site.  That recommendation was endorsed by the board and she concluded that the proposed development would not seriously injure the visual amenities of the area and would not adversely impact on the character of the protected structure.

The Mercantile Group was unable to provide comment to a query as to how the project may be affected by the economic impact of Covid 19.

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