Is the hotel proposal for Goatstown a ‘white elephant’?

Cantillon: Potential for a small hotel some distance from city centre seems limited

The Goat Bar and Grill in Goatstown, south Dublin. Plans by Charlie Chawke to build 299 apartments, a hotel and commercial units has met with local opposition. Photograph: Laura Hutton

The Goat Bar and Grill in Goatstown, south Dublin. Plans by Charlie Chawke to build 299 apartments, a hotel and commercial units has met with local opposition. Photograph: Laura Hutton

 

“Goatstown does not need a motel in any shape or form.” This was the view of a local resident responding to the planning application for a major residential and commercial scheme on a 4.6-acre site of The Goat pub in south Dublin, owned by publican Charlie Chawke and his family.

It received almost 150 submissions from local residents – mostly objections – and the chief executive of Dún Laoghaire County Council has recommended to An Bord Pleanála that permission be refused for the scheme, which is proposing 299 apartments, a 22-bedroom hotel and some other commercial units.

Some objectors have taken umbrage with plans for a hotel. Noting “no demonstrable need” for one in the area, many of the submissions came down heavily against the plans for the 22-bed hotel, adding that the “transient nature of hotel guests”, would not lend itself towards the creation of a so-called “neighbourhood centre” in the area.

The 24/7 nature of a hotel would “seriously affect the tone and amenity for local residents”, according to another objector.

The potential for such a small hotel, smack bang in the suburbs, at some distance away from both the green Luas line and the city centre would seem limited.

In nearby Sandyford, the 88-bedroom Beacon Hotel was sold late last year to the adjacent Beacon Hospital, after its new owners, the MHL Hotel Collection, noted that given its “smaller scale, suburban location and limited scope for expansion”, it was never a strategic acquisition for the group.

And then there is the little matter of the pandemic. Will tourism and corporate travel ever return to pre-pandemic levels? Does Dublin need more hotel rooms? Research published on Monday by CBRE found that there are more than 4,000 new hotel bedrooms on site in Dublin at present, with the total stock expected to reach just under 26,000 bedrooms by 2023.

The authors expect both domestic and corporate demand will sustain Dublin’s city centre hotels. But what of the suburbs?

This issue of whether or not a 22-bedroom hotel would be financially viable is raised in some submissions, with a number wondering whether or not it would quickly become a “ white elephant”. An Bord Pleanála will give its view shortly, and there is sure to be plenty of local interest whatever the outcome.