Dublin is set to get its very own Trump Tower after the sale of Liberty Hall in the capital to a company connected to the controversial US president.
The 16-storey building, owned by the State's largest trade union Siptu, has been a feature of the Dublin skyline since its completion in 1965 but plans are now under way to convert it into a five-star city centre hotel bearing the name of the American commander in chief.
In plans seen by The Irish Times, Trump International Holdings wants to renovate the existing structure and build a wider, taller skyscraper that will also feature shops, apartments, office space, underground parking, an open-air putting green on the top floor, a plaza on Eden Quay, and a canopy and signage over the main entrance. An application has been submitted to Dublin City Council and will be open to public consultation in the coming weeks.
The new structure will run to 32 storeys, doubling the height to about 120 meters, the same height as the Spire on O’Connell Street. According to the plans, each of the 32 floors will bear the name of one Irish county.
In recent years, Siptu has wanted to demolish the tower block and rebuild a new Liberty Hall but it is understood the cost of this was seen as being prohibitive and the union has instead decided to sell Liberty Hall and relocate. A union source said the sales process has been ongoing in secret since before the US election last November and was completed in recent weeks.
A spokesman for Siptu said it was happy with the sale and that it would be finally leaving Liberty Hall. “The upkeep of the building has a been a huge drain on union resources in recent years. With the sale of the building we will be able to acquire a new headquarters in Dublin city centre”.
Although President Trump was forced to step back from his business interests when he was elected he is understood to have pursued the Dublin project since before his victory and the deal was completed by close family members now running his businesses. Trump Dublin will expand President Trump's footprint in Ireland where his businesses already run Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg, Co Clare.
President Trump is known to want a stronger foothold in an English-speaking country in the European Union as Britain begins the process of leaving the Union. The move to Dublin by Trump was discussed at the recent visit to the White House in March by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who the US government now sees as a key ally in Europe.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer told The Irish Times last night that the US president hoped to stay in the new development when he visits Ireland and that a secure penthouse would form part of the plans. Trump Dublin is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. "The president's business representatives have been in contact with the Garda Síochána who confirmed they will be in a position to guard the President and cause only a minimum of traffic disruption in Dublin city centre when he journeys to Ireland and to Trump Dublin in the coming years", Mr Spicer added.
As news of the Liberty Hall sale broke last night, President Trump took to Twitter to say “Bought a small tower in Dublin, Ireland. We are going to build an awesome hotel in Dublin. It will be totally great. Love Ireland! Great country! #trumpdublin”.