Boutique City Centre Hotels Mooted by Cllr

Eoghan Dalton Reports

The local authority has been urged to take a leaf out of New Ross’s book and convert disused hostels into boutique hotels.
However, Waterford City & County Council executives believe that the conversion process could cost millions – with little sign of profit at the end of it.
The matter was raised by Cllr Mary Roche (Ind) at last month’s Metropolitan meeting. She pointed to the old men’s hostel in Lady Lane and the Presbytery building on George’s Street.
“I’m just wondering if there’s anything to be said for going out to the business community or investors and see would there be any interest. I saw a new boutique hotel opened in New Ross recently. I mean, if New Ross can sustain a boutique hotel then I’m quite sure Waterford City can sustain two or three, or four.”
She added that “nothing has happened [at the Ard Rí Hotel] in an awful long time”, further depriving the city of accommodation for tourists.
Director of Services Fergus Galvin told Cllr Roche that while he agreed there is a shortage of hotels, there tends to be a multitude of issues with disused buildings in the city, especially with the Lady Lane hostel.

Cllr Mary Roche.

Cllr Mary Roche.

“The real issues there I suppose are that even just to do the basic fire safety work on it, you’d sink a couple million on it before you’d even start doing real work on it to convert it into a hotel and I’m not sure if the returns are there or not.”
He noted how with the Presbytery building the Council holds a lease on the building and is restricted in what it can do with it. Mr Galvin continued with a call for the private market to assist the Council.
“If there are people with ideas and money, we’re be quite happy to engage with them.” Cllr Roche suggested that the local authority start an official process to find private investors, which Mr Galvin said would be taken on board.

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