Belfast Telegraph

Hotel deals in Republic fall to £240m in spite of major deals

By John Mulligan

The total value of hotel purchases in the Republic of Ireland dropped from a record €720m (£640m) in 2016 to €270m (£240m) last year, despite some major deals.

The figures were released in a new report from real estate group Cushman & Wakefield.

Regional hotels have seen their economic fortunes broadly lifted as the country’s growth accelerates and the number of visitors to Ireland rises. But the hotel transaction figure for 2017 was boosted to the tune of €171.2m (£152m) in the final quarter of the year by just three large hotel sales.

They included the €57m (£51m) sale of the four-star Carton House Hotel and Golf Resort in Co Kildare — the Irish rugby team’s hotel of choice — to Irish-American businessman John Malone.

Mr Malone, the billionaire chairman of cable company Liberty Global, owns a number of hotels and properties in Ireland either solely or as part of consortia. Also sold in the final quarter of 2017 was the four-star Knightsbrook Hotel and Golf Resort in Co Meath. It was acquired by Irish firm Blackbee Investments for €17.5m (£15.5m).

Blackbee is an investment vehicle at which former Ulster Bank chief economist Pat McArdle is chairman.

Two of the most significant transactions in 2017 were the €87m (£77m) acquisition of the Gibson Hotel in Dublin’s Docklands by German investment group DekaBank.

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The last major hotel purchase in Northern Ireland was the sale of the Dunadry Hotel in Co Antrim, which was snapped up by the McKeever Hotel Group for an undisclosed sum in June last year.

Cushman & Wakefield said that despite some large deals in 2017, the year was characterised by smaller, single asset transactions and off-market deals.

It noted that 63% of the hotel sales last year were for between €1m (£890,000) and €10m (£8.9m) each, while 23 sales were for less than €1m (£890,000) each.

In Belfast, the Grand Central Hotel is due to open its doors in June. It’s set to be Northern Ireland’s largest hotel. When finished, the 23-storey city centre spot on Bedford Street will include 300 bedrooms.

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