Thursday 24 January 2019

Ambitious plan for new hotel on quay

Esther Hayden

An ambitious €30 million project is on the cards for Wexford town. Anthony and Colm Neville of CoAnt Entertainments have applied to Wexford County Council for planning permission for a new development consisting of a mixture of retail, a 137 bedroom four star hotel with bar, restaurant, function room and conference facilities together with nine luxurious penthouse apartments.

The development will be sited on one of the most iconic sites in Wexford, the old Dublin Providers site at Wexford Bridge.

The brothers, who are also responsible for the redevelopment and opening of the Crown Bar and Crown Live in 2015, are very familiar with the site and are excited at the prospect of having planning approved for their development.

The new development, if granted planning permission, will be known as the Bridge Park Hotel.

The overall construction budget for the development is in excess of €30m.

The development will also consist of an underground car park with parking for 155 cars over two levels.

It is anticipated that 350 construction jobs will be provided on the site over a 30 month period and afterwards 220 permanent jobs will be created with the various mix of development in retail, hotel and apartments.

It is proposed that the building will have a very unique front façade, extending over nine stories with two large sails in a nod to Wexford’s rich maritime tradition.

The Neville brothers have employed local architect, Stephen Carr, to ensure that the new development will be an appropriate landmark building on the Wexford quayfront, complimenting the Wexford bridge with the two together becoming a gateway symbol for Wexford town.

The retail area will offer direct access from the Quay front, Main Street and Charlotte Street and will improve connectivity to and from the Main Street to the Quay front. It will also have direct access to the current laneway which serves the Crown Bar, together with sites which the Neville brothers have previously developed in the area.

Speaking to the Wexford People Colm Neville said that the proposed development will enhance the quay front and bring even more business to Wexford.

‘Well I think it is a prime site and we are probably getting near the stage where such a development is commercially viable. If it’s today I’m not sure but I think the time is coming.

‘We are not getting ahead of ourselves with the plans and the smaller details because the whole thing has to go through the planning process and that could take a couple of years truth be told between one thing and another.

‘But the whole tourism industry and general economy has been moving in the right direction, even provincially. There have been two speeds of recovery - Dublin speed and provincial speed. The Dublin economy has probably been on the up for the past four to five years and provincially I think that there has been signs of a recovery over the past two years.

‘The economy probably needs to recover somewhat more to make this commercially viable but if the trends and predictions from bodies such as Failte Ireland come to pass I would be very hopeful and very positive that this will make commercial sense in the coming 18 months.

‘The next task for us now is raising the fund to build it. All in, between the hotel, retail and apartments you are probably looking at an investment of €30million.

‘I would be very positive about the future growth of Wexford. I wouldn’t be so involved with Visit Wexford and other such bodies if it wasn’t nor would I have built on the two separate extensions to the Riverside Hotel in the past five years.’

Colm said he is relishing the chance to be involved in the planning of such an exciting project.

‘It’s a different kettle of fish to be able to invest in a new build. In recent years we had focused on acquisitions mainly because there was value out there. A lot of people were in unfortunate circumstances business wise and while it is not something you want to see people in we were able to get value.’

‘Obviously a new build is more expensive because it is more cost effective to build an extension when you have a base building to work with but it’s exciting too to focus on the new.

‘We will have to do a lot of soul searching before starting but I do feel that the time is right and we want to get the planning sorted and our ducks in a row to be ready to go.

‘It would be a big employer and introduce a lot more rooms in Wexford bringing a lot more visitors to the town. There is already a lot of bedrooms in Wexford but I feel this will add to the town. You obviously have to look at filling the rooms on a rainy Tuesday in January and not just in the summer months but I would be hopeful that the recovery is there to support this.

‘It will be a fully serviced hotel, probably employing around 150 people in full and part time positions and there would be a great spin off for other industries in the town.'

Coupled with the redevelopment of the Crown Bar this development, if it gets the green light from Wexford County Council, will represent an investment of almost €40 million by the Neville brothers in Wexford town since 2015.

Wexford People

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