The man proposing Ireland’s first floating hotel, on Cork’s city quays, says he is still committed to the project, despite delays in the planning process, writes Eoin English.
Following consultation with Bord Fáilte, the planned facility on the city’s northern quays will not be called a hotel, due to applicable standards, but a ‘botel’.
Sam Corbett, who had hoped to have the luxury river cruise vessel in place by August, said requests from city planners for further information have pushed the delivery date closer to the end of this year.
Following an application for planning permission last December, council planners made two requests for further information, including queries about how the facility’s wastewater, from sinks and showers, would be handled and treated, the location of pumping stations, and information about quay-side set-down arrangements for vehicles.
Mr Corbett said the time it took to respond to these requests meant he lost the opportunity to buy the vessel he wanted.
But he said a sister ship, which is identical in almost every respect, has just come up for sale in the Netherlands, and that if a favourable planning decision is made by the expected July 10 target date, he is ready to move.
“We have the finance in place and, once we get a decision, we’ll be straight over to buy it,” he said.
“We need to get work started as soon as possible. I would hope to have the vessel in place, and open, before the end of the year.”
It could cost up to €2.25m to buy the vessel, and another €1m to refit and repaint it, and arrange for its transport, by barge , to Cork.
“The city council is broadly supportive, the Port of Cork is behind the project, nobody objected during the planning process. It had just one observation,” Mr Corbett said.
“It would be great for the city.
“Cork needs more hotel beds, and something unusual, like this, something quirky, the city needs this kind of diversity.”
Mr Corbett’s company wants to permanently moor a 105-metre luxury cruise vessel on the north channel of the River Lee, at Penrose Quay, next to Michael Collins Bridge.
This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner website.