Starbucks brothers set for new Coffee Hub at Ballsbridge kiosk
Owners of US coffee chain’s Irish franchise set to reopen outlet under alternative brand
Brothers Colum and Ciarán Butler acquired the hexagonal 37sq ft kiosk in Ballsbridge for €330,000 last summer.
The brothers behind the Starbucks franchise in Ireland are readying the launch of their latest venture in a Ballsbridge kiosk, one of the State’s most expensive commercial properties. However it appears they are opting for something a little different at the Dublin 4 location.
The tiny, hexagonal 37sq ft property has traded for decades at the junction of Lansdowne, Pembroke and Northumberland roads. It was acquired by brothers Colum and Ciarán Butler for €330,000 last summer, making it one of the most expensive commercial properties in the city, at € 8,918 per square foot.
The brothers acquired the franchise for Starbucks in Ireland in 2012, and their company, Entertainment Enterprises, also operates TGI Fridays, Dante’s and Mao restaurants, as well as Leisureplexes in Dublin.
Plassu Unlimited, a company established by the brothers in 2011, has now applied for permission for refurbishment of the kiosk. The plans include refurbishing the window frames and timber cladding, while the existing access to the unit remains unchanged.
A request for permission to install new branding in fret metal at the site suggests the brothers are not looking to set up another Starbucks at the site, but rather a “Coffee Hub”. A decision is still pending, but the period of observation closed on January 11th, with no objections submitted.
It remains to be seen what brand will ultimately emerge at the site. The iconic island site was originally used as a store by the Pembroke fire brigade from 1920 onwards. In 1989 it was bought for £132,000 by developer Phil Monahan of the Square, Tallaght fame, and was let to O’Brien’s Sandwich Bar on a 25-year lease from 1996 at £16,500 a year.
It was subsequently put on the market in 1998 at a price of £250,000, which would have been a record for the city at the time at £5,200 per square foot. However, it was subsequently withdrawn.
In 2015 a private investor bought the kiosk for € 235,000, and let it on a short-term basis at an annual € 15,000 rent to Silverskin coffee, an Irish company.
The rise of the US brand, which has its origins in Seattle, across the country has been embraced by many consumers and opposed by others. The country’s first Starbucks opened in the Dundrum Town Centre in 2005. Ireland is now home to more Starbucks per head of population than anywhere else in Europe, with more than 70 outlets across the State.