Dublin-based solicitor has 'no intention' of moving practice to facilitate €10m hotel revamp

Dublin City Council

A Dublin city centre-based personal injury solicitor has stated that he has no intention of moving his practice to facilitate the planned €10m revamp of the Mercantile Hotel.

Last month, the Mercantile Group lodged plans to expand the Mercantile pub and hotel on 24-28 Dame Street increasing the number of bedrooms from 28 to 109.

The group - which counts Cafe En Seine, gig venue Whelan’s and The George in its growing portfolio of entertainment venues - is expanding the hotel following its purchase of Dame House that it acquired for €7.5m in 2017.

However, in an objection against the plan, solicitor John Synnott has told Dublin City Council: “I am a current occupier of Dame House and have no intention of leaving my business premises.”

Mr Synnott has told the Council: “I occupy rooms on the first floor of Dame House, proposed for a change of use to hotel use in the subject application.”

He points out: “It is my family’s practice and has been in occupation by my father since 1955, myself since 1970, with the potential for one of my children to continue the practice at some point in the future.

He adds: “Given that I have no intention of surrendering my leasehold, which guarantees the right of occupation for 21 years, with an unexpired term of 14 years, the site application needs to be assessed in terms of my practice’s continuing occupation of the building.”

Mr Synnott has told the City Council that the planned expansion of the hotel “could theoretically be delivered whilst I retain occupation of my rooms, notwithstanding the impact on the servicing and movement through the building from a future operator’s point of view and the impact on access to the proposed atrium/external space”.

He stated: “Therefore, I am requesting that the planning department robustly assesses the potential impact of the proposed development on my business.

Mr Synnott stressed: “I am not intending to leave my premises at any point in the near future and therefore if the proposed development is to take place, this will be in the context of my retaining in situ."

Mr Synnott has also told the council that applicants, Mercantile group firm, Orangeseed DAC “be required to provide a revised floor plan at first floor level showing my premises remaining as it is and indicating how access to my premises for myself and my clients is to be secured”.

Fáilte Ireland has written to Dublin City Council to offer its support of the scheme.

The agency's Manager of Environmental and Planning, Shane Dineen has told the Council that “this proposal for this development in Dublin city centre would be a valuable addition to the accommodation stock in Dublin and would go some way to address the accommodation challenge being faced by the city”.

Mr Dineen stated that where the current demand for hotel rooms exceed supply “and inevitably in a scenario such as this, prices are inflated giving the message internationally that Dublin is not a competitive destination”.

A decision is due on the application next month. The Mercantile Group did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday on Mr Synnott’s objection.

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