Jurys checks out of Limerick hotel

LIMERICK saw its second major hotel transaction in less than a year yesterday, when Jurys Doyle sold its hotel in the city for €9.75 million.

The group said the 95-bedroom hotel no longer fitted with its overall strategic plan of operating larger hotels and will instead concentrate its Limerick business on its Jurys Inn at Lower Mallow Street, which opened in 1997.

The hotel's new owner is John Lally, a Galway hotelier and property developer. Mr Lally already owns the Harbour Hotel in Galway city, as well as Barnacles budget accommodation centres in Galway and Dublin's Temple Bar.

Mr Lally said the Jurys hotel was similar in size to his existing hotel and that he would invest heavily in the new business to position it as one of the premier hotels in the Shannonside area.

"Over the next two years there will be considerable enhancement of the premises and we hope to repeat in Limerick the success we have achieved in Galway," he said.

Mr Lally also plans further hotel acquisitions and is exploring potential buys in Dublin and the west of the country.

Mr Lally's property interests include the redevelopment of an office block in Booterstown, south Dublin, which was previously home to mortgage lender First Active. He is also behind a mixed residential and office development near Dublin's Point Theatre, as well as apartment developments near Galway's Institute of Technology and in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

The existing management and staff will remain in place when the hotel changes hands in April.

Jurys Doyle chief executive Pat McCann said it was an appropriate time to sell and that the group had received "an attractive offer" that was higher than the hotel's carrying value.

Mr McCann wished the new owners, management and staff well in the future. The group also said it had no plans to offload any of its other hotels.

The transaction came seven months after Gresham Hotels sold its Limerick Ryan hotel for €11m as part of a €30m divestment programme.

Its new owners subsequently closed the hotel in November, with the loss of almost 100 jobs, blaming continued losses and a poor trading outlook.

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