US billionaire businessman John Malone is planning to extend his Trinity City Hotel in Dublin a year after buying the premises.
His Trinity Leisure Holdings firm has applied to Dublin City Council for planning permission to extend the premises, formerly known as the Trinity Capital Hotel, to the rear, adding 23 new bedrooms.
The extension will boost the number of bedrooms at the four-star hotel to 218. The Trinity City is profitable, benefiting from the strong performance of the hotel market in Dublin over the past year.
The development plans also call for the construction of a glazed terrace bar on the sixth floor of the property as well as modifications to the former Tara Street fire station at ground floor. The building is protected.
Mr Malone, chairman of UPC owner Liberty Global, paid €35m for the Trinity Capital Hotel, outbidding rivals to secure the property.
A few months earlier he paid just €7.2m to buy the expansive Humewood Castle and estate in Co Wicklow. The castle is set on 427 acres and had previously been owned by developer John Lally's Lalco Holdings. It had paid €25m for the property. During the summer, Mr Malone paid €65m to buy the Westin Hotel on Dublin's Westmoreland Street.
That hotel will be operated by the Lalco Hotel Group under an agreement with the Westin group.
Mr Malone, who's reputed to be the largest private landowner in the United States, also owns the Hilton Hotel on Charlemont Place in the capital. He paid €30m for the 193-bedroom property earlier this year.
During the past 18 months, Dublin's hotels have experienced their best performance since the downturn.
A recent study by accounting and consulting firm Crowe Horwath showed that occupancy rates in the capital hit 76.3pc in 2013, helped by the 'Gathering' initiative that drew tourists to the country. That compares to a 76.8pc occupancy rate in 2007.
Hotels in the capital are charging an average of €90.73 a night for a room. That's 22pc lower than in 2007.