Stock exchange seeks to remove wax museum from building

Exchange buys former House of Lords in Foster Place from parent company to expand operations

An exhibit at the wax museum on Foster Place, Dublin.

An exhibit at the wax museum on Foster Place, Dublin.

 

The Irish Stock Exchange wants the operators of the National Wax Museum to vacate its landmark premises in Dublin to facilitate a €10 million ISE redevelopment project, the Commercial Court heard.

The exchange says the company, which runs the museum, KF Internet Software, should deliver up possession of the Armoury Building in Foster Place, College Green, which housed the Irish House of Lords until it was abolished by the Act of Union in 1800.

Last june, the exchange bought the building for €2.7million from the “Lord Partnership”, which had rented it out to the wax museum under licence. 

The stock exchange made the purchase to facilitate redevelopment of its adjacent Anglesea Street headquarters in which the Armoury Building will be incorporated into a single campus.  The property was acquired to facilitate continued Irish and international business growth and to cater for a 50 per cent increase in staff numbers, the exchange says.

The case against KF Internet Software was admitted to the Commercial Court by Mr Justice John Hedigan on the application of Cian Ferriter SC, for the stock exchange.

Aileen O’Donoghue, Irish Stock Exchange director of strategy, policy and communications, said in an affidavit that the museum operators are claiming they concluded an agreement with the Lord Partnership to buy the Armoury building a month before the exchange bought it.

The stock exchange argues no evidence of this was put forward and it had reminded KF Internet Software that the licence agreement, allowing it to occupy the premises, expired on January 31st last.

Vacate property

KF’s solicitors replied it would vacate the property as soon as practicable after it was ultimately determined it was not beneficially entitled to it under the contract it had with the Lord Partnership.

Due to the defendant’s continued refusal to permit access, legal proceedings were initiated, Ms O’Donoghue says.

Paraic Dunning, managing director of KF Internet Software, said in a replying affidavit that the museum was a thriving business and an important tourist facility.

His company had concluded an oral agreement with the Lord Partnership to buy the property on May 28th last following discussions conducted for over a year.  A price of €1.5 million was agreed once the licence arrangement ran out last January, and the company had invested more than €500,000 in the building, he added.

This year is very important for the museum due to the centenary of the 1916 Rising and it has entered agreements with several organisations, along with marketing campaigns, on the basis the company would remain in the building, he says.

Moving premises would be hugely disruptive of the business and, with no alternative, the business would cease in the short term, he said.