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The Globe bar planned to be turned into retail outlet as An Bord Pleanála approves Central Hotel revamp

Erik G

PLANS FOR A new hotel development in Dublin city centre that could spell ‘last orders’ for well known Dublin night venues, Rí-Rá nightclub and The Globe bar, have received the green light.

This follows An Bord Pleanála granting planning permission to Exchequer Developments Ltd for a major expansion of the Central Hotel on South Great George’s Street and Dame Court into a new 6,554 square metre five-storey hotel with 125 bedrooms and a rooftop.

In the planned revamp, the Rí-Rá nightclub space is to become a ‘speak-easy’ while the space occupied by The Globe bar is to be transformed into a retail outlet.

As part of the application, the existing Library bar is going to be reduced to help make way for two additional bedrooms.

Last year in response to the plans, a member of Dublin City Council, Green Party Councillor Claire Byrne commented that “we are running out of places to dance”.

Byrne made her comment as part of an objection against the plan where she stated: “We have already witnessed an excessive erosion of our club culture in the city in particular over the past few years, mostly to make way for hotels and student accommodation.”

The city council granted planning permission for the hotel extension last November.

However, the scheme was put on hold after three separate appeals were lodged by Philip O’Reilly, Rodney Senior of the Christian Science Reading Room and Dr Colin Galligan of Medipharm to An Bord Pleanála

In his objection against the plan, Philip O’Reilly of Grosvenor Place, Rathmines stated that the plans to expand the hotel to 125 rooms “defy logic now given the state of the world and future economic and social trends”.

O’Reilly stated that the tourism industry is now flat on the floor “and the city is awash with unoccupied hotel rooms and this scenario is not going to change anytime soon”.

However, the appeals board granted planning after concluding that the proposal would be in accordance with the development plan objective for the site and would not seriously injure the integrity and setting of the protected structure or the visual amenities or architectural character of the Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) within which the site is located.

The decision by the appeals board upholds a recommendation by board inspector, Jane Dennehy to grant planning permission.

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Last year, the city council planning report, which recommended planning permission, acknowledged that a number of the third party submissions highlighted the loss of night-time activity.

The report stated: “The proposal retains a night-time use in the basement, retains the Library Bar and provide new night time options on the ground floor.”

The report concluded that “the range of uses proposed will ensure a balance between shopping, leisure and cultural, and that non-retail uses will not dominate this section of South Great Georges Street”.

A report lodged with the planning application stated that the intention of the proposal “is to create a cultural hub for the local community and offer guests an experience unique to Dublin – offering the warmth of Irish hospitality combined with the vibrancy of the local arts and music scene”.

Partners in the venture BCP Capital last year stated that the overall scheme would result in a significant net increase in bar and restaurant space.

A BCP spokesman stated at the time that the current Rí-Rá nightclub space would remain as a bar/nightclub, “and the much-cherished Library Bar will also remain a core part of the hotel and its identity”.

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