Thursday 27 October 2016

Plans for €250m hotel above iconic Bewley's cafe


The iconic Bewley's building on Grafton Street is to get a new lease of life - with a €250m chic boutique hotel going in above its cafe.

Property developer Johnny Ronan is behind the plans for the 70-bed venture - one of four hotels he wants to build after exiting Nama last April having paid back close to €400m over the past two years.

The famous Harry Clarke stained-glass windows will be a central feature in the project, which will be developed by Ronan Group Real Estate with an estimated investment of €250m.

Ronan also announced plans for a 167-bed, four-star hotel named Aquavetro in what will be Dublin's tallest building, a 22-storey waterfront tower, which he is developing beside Tara Street Dart Station. The building will also include offices on the upper floors.

The announcement comes only days after a report by property agents Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL) which warned that Dublin needs as many as 3,000 new hotel rooms or it will continue to lose out on attracting international events to the city.

Shane Whelan, development director for the Ronan Group, said the focus on delivering hotels was to satisfy the strong demand generated by record tourism numbers, a recovering economy and restricted hotel capacity.

"The last lease we signed was with Starwood for the Westin Hotel in 1996. Leases are now back in vogue as hotel operators don't need their capital tied up in bricks and mortar," he said.

In a third major development, Ronan will develop The Enniskerry Park Hotel, a 200-bed hotel on a scenic 4.5-acre site in Enniskerry, neighbouring what was the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. That was previously a Ronan Group development and has subsequently been named The Powerscourt Hotel by its current owners.

Johnny Ronan
Johnny Ronan

The fourth major project that will round off the current plan for Ronan Group Real Estate's hotel development portfolio, is the development of a site in the picturesque village of Delgany, Co Wicklow.

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