Luxury Merrion Hotel gets green light to build extension
THE Merrion Hotel – Dublin's luxury hangout for guests including Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen – has been given the green light for a major extension to the property by An Bord Pleanala.
The hotel's plans were delayed after a florist objected because he feared the location of a fire door that's part of the new development could put him out of business.
The owner of the five-star hotel – Landmark Investment – intends to demolish a building on Lower Baggot Street, just around the corner from its main entrance. It will replace the building with an extension to the hotel that will include three storeys of accommodation.
Landmark Investment is 50pc-owned by Northern Ireland's Hastings hotel group. The remainder is owned by Martin Naughton, the billionaire who owns appliance firm Glen Dimplex, and ESB chairman Lochlann Quinn.
The Merrion also intends to create a new restaurant in the hotel and extend the two-star Michelin Patrick Guilbaud restaurant, which leases premises in the property.
Florist Gerry Draper had objected to the hotel's planning application last year. He argued that the positioning of a fire escape at the planned extension would interfere with his pitch, where he has sold flowers for 30 years.
The council granted planning permission, but told Landmark Investment that it would have to shift the location of the new fire escape.
But Landmark Investment appealed that decision to An Bord Pleanala. Mr Draper told the planning watchdog that the fire exit should be excluded by it from the hotel's planning permission.
An Bord Pleanala has disagreed, however. It said that the proposed fire exit would be in a "reasonable location" and "should not have a negative impact on the flower stall".