New €40m city hotel near St Pat's cathedral is given the green light
A new €40m, 257-bed hotel in Dublin city centre has been given the green light.
The hotel, part of the Hodson Bay hotel group, will be built on a site on Dean Street, close to St Patrick's Cathedral in the Coombe.
John O'Sullivan, owner of the hotel group, said he hoped to have the new venture up and running within a year of final approval.
The four-star hotel is expected to employ up to 200 full-time staff.
The group - one of the last remaining hotel groups owned by an Irish family - previously stated that the new hotel would be operated under a franchise license with a major brand.
Due to their relationship with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the new hotel is likely to be opened as a Sheraton.
The development - which will adjoin Fallon's pub, a protected structure - will range in height from three to six storeys. It will have 257 bedrooms, reduced from 263 as a condition of planning.
It will include a cafe bar/restaurant and meeting and conference facilities.
For years the group, set up by Mr O'Sullivan and his wife Mary in 1990, avoided the Dublin market due to the excessive costs of real estate in the city.
However, after earmarking the perfect site for a hotel near St Patrick's Cathedral, the group spent the past three years working on securing 10 properties in the area.
"It was a domino effect. When you had one secured you were never sure you were going to get the next one. It took a long time to secure them all," said Mr O'Sullivan.
The hotel boss believes the area is ripe for regeneration, with the planned DIT move from various premises in the area to Grangegorman, freeing up a lot of properties for redevelopment.
"The location is optimal. We're seven minutes' walk from Stephen's Green and less than that to Temple Bar. It has huge potential," he added.
The hotel group runs three hotels around the country - the Hodson Bay hotel, the Sheraton Athlone and the Galway Bay hotel, employing over 550 staff.
The group survived the recession with some forward thinking from its boss. In 2007, Mr O'Sullivan - concerned about a looming recession - prepared plans for a 30pc drop in business, increasing this to a predicted 40pc as the recession took hold. His predictions proved accurate.
"It was some wallop. I had 500 mouths to feed and it was 2013 before we saw the first break in the clouds.
"We focused on quality when everybody else was giving away product. We were basically one of the few family hotel groups that survived the recession," he said.
Mr O'Sullivan is eager to get moving on his latest project and is hopeful that any appeals can be dealt with quickly and successfully.