Own a piece of history

One of Cork city’s oldest hotels, the Victoria Hotel on St Patrick Street, is for sale by tender in April.

Dating back to 1810, it has played a pivotal role in the social, sporting, and political life of the city over three centuries. Now, with its ground floor more or less given over to retail, it’s a hospitality investment, with function room, bar, and 33 bedrooms.

Originally called the Royal Victorian Hotel, and owned for the past two decades by the King family, it has 32, 000 sq ft gross and dual access to its upper levels both from St Patrick Street, and Cook Street.

Its Cook Street entrance is opposite a number of buildings which have been quietly bought off-market in the past few years by Penneys, as part of a proposed major expansion of the department store. And, also showing faith in St Patrick’s Street continuance as a retail thoroughfare, the Moderne across the street has recently been bought for a sub-€5m sum as a new retail play by Dublin investors Davy Private.

Selling agents for the Victoria Hotel are Kevin O’Sullivan Estates and Margaret Kelleher of Lisneys, acting for the King family, and they’ve opted for sale by tender.

They won’t be drawn on price; however, it was last for sale in 2003 with Lisney, quoting a €4m price guide for a then-trading entity.

Likely, to be now selling for around the €1m mark, it hasn’t traded as a hotel or bar for several years, and the 33 ensuite bedrooms are now best suited to a budget hotel type operation. It’s best calling card is a remarkable 1,500 sq ft first floor salon, with mezzanine and large windows overlooking St Patrick Street and Opera Lane, ideal as bar, tea room, night-club venue etc. It’s quite possibly the most attractive salon in Cork — in waiting.

In the 1980s, it was the legendary CoCo’s nightclub, run by the late entrepreneur Dominic O’Keeffe, while the bar the Gay Future also harboured its own cadre of fans.

The Vic is essentially contained on the upper floors of a four storey corner end of terrace building in the middle of St Patrick’s Street, and while it’s basically sound for its age, it needs refurbishment, though its bar, function, dining and service areas would be functional with more minimal work, and a new licence will have to be applied for.

The hotel is noted as place of the second-ever meeting place of the fledgling GAA in 1884 after Hayes’ Hotel in Thurles (also currently for sale) and distinguished guests of all political persuasions have included Charles Stewart Parnell who addressed rallies from its upper windows, James Joyce, who mentioned it in Portrait of An Artist, as well as John Redmond, Michael Collins, Liam Cosgrave and Winston Churchill. It was also used for many years by the Chamber of Commerce, and victorious Cork GAA teams greeting public hordes from its upper floors above its cast iron canopy, a decorative feature sadly since removed. Today, its ground floor rooms are occupied by fashion outlets Monsoon and Assessorize, owned as an investment by Joe Donnelly.

Tender date for the Victoria Hotel’s next chapter and rendezvous is April 11.

Details: Lisney, 021-4275079; O’Sullivan Estates, 021-4966860

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