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Row over plans for development of Ormond hotel

PLANS to demolish Dublin's Ormond Quay Hotel will have to be re-advertised after substantial changes were made to the redevelopment proposals.

Dublin City Council has ordered Monteco Holdings – a company connected to QPR football club owner Tony Fernandes – to re-publish the designs.

Monteco applied to the council to knock down the now closed Ormond Quay Hotel and build a 170-bedroom, six storey replacement.

It is understood tycoon Fernandes wishes to construct a so-called Tune hotel, providing a five-star service at budget prices.

DEMAND

Tune is based on an online marketing model with pricing determined by demand and early booking for very low rates.

The first hotel in the chain opened in Westminster in London and the Malaysian entrepreneur Fernandes has been looking to expand rapidly.

But the proposals have been slammed by conservationists, who say the hotel premises at 7 to 11 Ormond Quay is a "significant building in one of the most prominent streetscapes in Dublin city centre".

"The main buildings were reconstructed at various dates during the 20th century and the hotel is the location for the 'Sirens' episode in Joyce's Ulysses.

"The site incorporates, as well as directly abuts, protected structures and has a significant impact on the setting and integrity of the late 17th century house, which is a national monument, at 6 Ormond Quay Upper," Michael Smith and Ian Lumley stated in a letter of objection.

Monteco submitted revised plans following a request by city planners for additional information.

Having reviewed the new drawings, the council decided the changes are such that they require a fresh consultation process.

SIGNIFICANT

The James Joyce Centre objected to the original plans saying the site is of "great cultural significance for the city of Dublin".

An Bord Pleanala previously approved a 130-bedroom hotel for the Ormond but the permission lapsed in 2009.

Along with co-investor Lim Kian Onn, Fernandes snapped up the property for €2m, some €15m less than the price developer Bernard McNamara paid in 2006.

Mr Smith is a former chairman of An Taisce and Mr Lumley is the organisation's heritage officer. In their letter, they pointed out: "While previous planning permissions for the demolition and redevelopment of the hotel were granted, these were determined during the lifetime of previous development plans, the permissions were not implemented and the most recent has expired."

comurphy@herald.ie


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