US embassy submits rezoning plan for Jurys Hotel
Current building ‘does not conform to new construction and security requirements’
The US government is understood to have agreed to buy what is now the Ballsbridge Hotel from developer Joe O’Reilly’s Chartered Land. However, the move requires a change in the city development plan from the current residential zoning to enterprise and employment use.
The request to change the development plan was submitted to the council on behalf of the US state department which said its existing 1960s premises, across the road from the hotel, was no longer suitable to cater for the “current and growing demands” placed upon a modern embassy facility and “does not conform to new construction and security requirements issued by the state department in Washington DC”.
The current embassy, one of the most distinctive buildings in Ballsbridge, has capacity for 150-200 staff while the new building will be designed to cater for 400. The state department intends to retain the existing building for up to 10 years to allow for the redevelopment of the hotel site. However, it has not furnished details of its future plans for the 57-year-old block.
A four-week public consultation process will begin this month on the rezoning proposal before councillors are asked to either approve to reject the plan.
City councillors on Monday agreed to write to the embassy to discuss the future preservation of the current embassy building.
The building, designed by American architect John MacLane Johansen, is not listed on the Record of Protected Structures.
The hotel site is estimated to be worth more than €150 million. If the deal goes through, Chartered Land will drop proposals for apartments, shops and a new hotel on the site, while the US government will proceed with plans for a new building, which it is understood will not be as high as the structure planned by Mr O’Reilly’s company.
The Berkeley Court Hotel will not be part of any likely deal with the US government as Chartered Land is already building apartments on that part of the property.
Jurys Doyle sold the hotel and the adjoining Berkeley Court to developer Sean Dunne for a record €240 million in 2005.
Chartered Land bought the hotels from Mr Dunne’s lender, Ulster Bank, in 2015 for €170 million.
Mr Dunne was one of the bigger players in a debt-funded real-estate bubble that burst in 2008, sparking a sustained recession that left the State insolvent after bailing out its banks. He subsequently fought a long bankruptcy case in the US, which was resolved in 2019.