Monday 27 January 2020

McKillen Jr Dublin Docks hotel in delay as demand for city rooms intensifies

Paddy McKillen Jr is looking to build a new 93-bedroom hotel in Dublin's docklands
Paddy McKillen Jr is looking to build a new 93-bedroom hotel in Dublin's docklands
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Property developer Paddy McKillen Jr has said he is confident he can agree a plan with Dublin City Council to allow his company, Chirita Ltd, to proceed with plans to develop a new 93-bedroom hotel on North Wall Quay in Dublin's docklands.

McKillen's application to convert a former warehouse next to the Central Bank's new headquarters and redevelop it as a high-end hotel suffered something of a setback on July 15, with council planners objecting to the plan on the grounds that it would be in breach of the Dublin City Development Plan's provisions for conservation of the area.

Central to the planners' objection was the proposal to add an additional five storeys to the existing warehouse to create an eight-storey hotel building.

"The existing warehouse makes a powerful contribution to the original dockland character of the river frontage and its special interest would be obliterated by the current proposal to use the building as a plinth to support a five storey development," Dublin City Council said.

Asked if he believed it would be possible to deliver on his company's plans for a hotel on the site in view of the council's current difficulties with it, McKillen was optimistic.

He said: "We have now purchased the building next door and will incorporate it into the plan for the hotel. We love the buildings and the enormous potential for that part of the city. We're confident that we can agree a plan with Dublin City Council that will transform North Wall Quay and give the city much-needed hotel rooms".

A son of the Belfast-born property investor of the same name, Paddy McKillen Jr has forged a reputation in his own right as a successful developer and businessman with a range of interests in Dublin's hotel, bar and restaurant sector and in residential property. The Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street is arguably the best-known venue within Press Up Entertainment, the company he runs in partnership with Matt Ryan.

Demand for hotel rooms in the capital is, as McKillen contends, acute and set to grow even further. This year will, however, see the opening of only one new hotel - the 198-bedroom Holiday Inn Express at Findlater House on O'Connell Street.

The arrival of that hotel will see a net gain of just 16 additional hotel bedrooms for Dublin city, owing to the closure and demolition earlier this year of the 182 bedroom Clyde Court Hotel (formerly the Berkeley Court) in Dublin 4.

Commenting on the ongoing dearth of hotel rooms in the capital, John Hughes, a director at CBRE's hotels division, said: "There is a definite scarcity of quality Dublin hotel properties to meet the strong levels of demand, both from Irish and international buyers and operators."

He added that there had been a "significant rise in planning activity" in Dublin city centre to meet the increasing demand for hotel accommodation. That increase in activity and the interest expressed by international investors is hardly surprising.

Hughes noted that Dublin had been Europe's third best performing hotel market by RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) growth in 2015, while STR and PwC were now forecasting RevPAR growth of 16.8pc and 9.1pc for 2016 respectively, and 4pc and 8.2pc RevPAR growth respectively in 2017.

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