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Naus Group to push ahead with Birmingham city development

Irish developer the Naus Group intends to push ahead with a major hotel and commercial property development close to Birmingham city's famous Bullring shopping centre.

Group chief executive Ronan Mellett said that funding from the group's existing (non-Nama) banks is in place. The permission clears the way for the group to embark on a marketing campaign aimed at signing up a hotel operator from the 40 top hotel brands that have signalled their interest in operating hotels in the city.

"Some of the existing Birmingham hotels are dated and there is a demand among operators for more modern facilities," Mr Mellett said.

Birmingham accounts for 40pc of the UK's exhibition, conference and trade show business.

Naus now has permission for two hotels with a total of 480 rooms as well as a conference centre with capacity for 1,000 delegates.

As its hotels range in height from five to nine storeys, the development can be done in phases to meet market demand which makes the project much more feasible.

It will be located on the former Harrison Drape building in Digbeth, which is about 500 yards from the Bullring and about 20 minutes walk from the ICC, which is one of the largest of Birmingham's conference centres.

In addition to the hotels, the Naus project will also include four retail units, 22,600 sq ft of office space and a 513-space, multi-storey car park.

AIB last year appointed an administrator to another of Naus's Birmingham development subsidiaries, Connaught Square Ltd (CSL), but Mr Mellett said that did not affect the Harrison Drape project. AIB's loan of less than £25m (€28.3m) to CSL has since been transferred to NAMA. CSL has since received a time extension on the planning permission for the development of the 4.5-acre CSL site in east Birmingham. At one time this proposed development was valued at €180m.


CSL administrator Neil Mather, of Begbies Traynor, said he was considering proposals for future development of that site. "We are having discussions with NAMA about the future strategy for the site . . . and we will be selling the property in due course," he added.

Originally envisaged as an Irish Quarter, the CSL development was to comprise 658 flats, 25,620 sqm of commercial space including a 180-bed four-star hotel, 4,100 sqm of shops and bars/restaurants, 5,700 sqm of offices and a new Irish Centre.

The chairman of Naus is developer Myles Crofton and it has been involved in property development for more than 30 years. The most notable is the €140m Ashbourne Town Centre in Co Meath.

Naus also has plans for a development on the six-acre Barrow Track site in Carlow town centre for 60,000 sqft of retail space, an 153-bed hotel and 150 residential units.

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