The Gresham Hotel will garner interest from a number of domestic and foreign investors as Nama placed it on the market this week, seeking €80 million for the property.
Dalata, which has been on a spree of hotel purchases over the last 18 months, has expressed interest in the four-star Gresham, although its chief executive Pat McCann admitted it may be out of the group's buying limit.
Speaking to the Irish Independent last year, he also expressed doubt as to whether it fit the group portfolio criteria. "The question we'd ask ourselves is if there is hidden value in it. Because it's an older building, you'd have to look at how challenged it is in terms of refurb and structure," he said.
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Another potential buyer is hotel group Tifco, which owns and manages a number of hotels in Ireland, including the Clontarf Castle Hotel and the Crowne Plaza brand. US billionaire John Malone, who purchased the InterContinental Ballsbridge for an estimated €50 million in March last year is also expected to show interest, as well a a number of North American and Far East investors.
The iconic O'Connell Street hotel, which celebrates its 200th anniversary next year, was bought for €117 million in 2004 by Precinct Investments. It is being sold as an "unencumbered" asset, meaning an international chain can choose to rebrand if they wish, or continue trading under the reputable Gresham name.
The shortage of hotel rooms in Dublin means the 323-bedroom property will be heavily sought after, despite the gradual decline of O'Connell Street as a shopping area over the last number of years. A new 198-bedroom Holiday Inn Express is already planned just down the road from the Gresham at Findlater House, while Irish investment group Tetrarch are seeking planning permission for a 158-bedroom boutique hotel on Sackville Place, just off O'Connell Street.