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Architect says councillors have myopic view of hotel development

Maldron Hotel, Kevin Street

Two new hotels will open in the Liberties in the coming months providing about 340 bedrooms. Tourist attractions have created a demand for accommodation in the area.

A new 202-bed Aloft Hotel at Blackpitts is set to open in the spring of 2018 and a 138-bed Maldron Hotel will open in June. It will overlook the new Garda Station on Kevin Street.

Construction work has started on the new Sheraton Hotel at the Coombe, which will have 234 rooms and is set to open in March 2019.

The Marlet Property Group has begun work on the old Grand Canal Harbour mixed-use project to the south of St James’s Hospital, which will include a 200-bedroom aparthotel.

A spokesperson for the Marlet group said that, “The development should be seen in the context of the substantial healthcare activity in the locality.  We see the aparthotel as catering primarily for users of the new Children’s Hospital and the existing St James Hospital as well as other healthcare activities in the area.”

An Bord Pleanála has granted permission for a 10,000 sq/m Tivoli Square project on Francis Street. The Tivoli Theatre will be replaced with a five-storey, 289-bed aparthotel. Associated facilities also approved by An Bord Pleanála include restaurant units, a gym, a bike rental shop, a theatre and a performance art venue.

Construction will take two years and should start early next year. Douglas Wallace Architects will oversee the overall design of the project.

Hugh Wallace, a director of Douglas Wallace said, “The development will act as a catalyst for Francis Street, which has been neglected for years. The hotel will be an employer in the area, and the performance space will be available for use by local groups so I believe that the new courtyard can become a focal point for locals.”

According to Wallace, the aparthotel along with the new Aloft Hotel and Maldron Hotel will drive pedestrian traffic in both directions and will bring more customers to the vacant units on the street which will provide a boost to local economy in the area.

Mr Wallace said, “It’s about creating vibrancy, and the proposed performance space both inside and outside will again create a focal point for activity on the street and encourage people to interact with the street and more importantly buy things.”

Councillors have slammed An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant permission for this new hotel on Francis Street because they say it will push out locals and does nothing to help the community.

In response to this, Mr Wallace said, “They have a myopic view, not the overall picture. To have a truly cohesive urban area today we need to have building height to deliver real public parks, playing fields, health care, retirement housing, care homes, public transport, schools and a sense of a diverse community.”

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