The owners of the Ormond Hotel in Dublin have revised their plans for the redevelopment of the historic Joycean landmark to take account of concerns raised by Dublin City Council.
In a submission to council planners on August 15 last, architects acting for Monteco Holdings responded to several items relating to the conservation of the hotel, which famously features in James Joyce's Ulysses.
Chief among the changes agreed to by Monteco are a reduction in the height of the redeveloped hotel as it faces on to Little Strand Street; a change of material from render to brick to preserve the hotel's character and the set back of a proposed penthouse level to lessen the impact of its addition to the original hotel structure.
The submission from architect and historic buildings consultant David Slattery contends that the revised plans for the Ormond Hotel now make it "compatible in design to its setting on the quayside streetscape".
While the hotel's proposed scale and height and use of materials make it "clearly identifiable as a contemporary addition to the streetscape", Slattery states that "it cannot be viewed as visually obtrusive or a dominant form of development".
Monteco Holdings' bid to redevelop the Ormond Hotel has been a protracted process.
Since acquiring the property in 2013, the company - which is controlled by the Malaysian businessman Lim Kian Onn through a direct shareholding and shares held through Singapore-based Plato Capital and Vindelta, which is based in the British Virgin Islands and controlled by him and his wife - has tempered its ambitions significantly.
In its original planning application, Monteco sought approval for a 170-bed, 70,000 sq ft hotel. Earlier this year, the company submitted a revised application for a 121-bed hotel arranged across 65,000 sq ft.
While the Ormond Hotel had been acquired a year after its closure, in 2006, by developer Bernard McNamara for €17m, Monteco Holdings managed to snap it up for a knockdown price of just under €2.5m in 2013. McNamara had put it on the market in 2009 shortly after his various businesses began to experience financial difficulty, with an asking price of €7m, but it failed to sell.
Notwithstanding Monteco Holdings efforts to meet the requirements of the planners, it remains unclear if they will be able to allay the concerns of objectors, including the Save Joycean Dublin Committee and An Taisce. An Taisce's former chairman, Michael Smith, and its current heritage officer, Ian Lumley, have objected to the plan.