Citywest fails in bid to expand venue

Live Nation, the international owner of Dublin’s 3Arena, has won a planning battle blocking the new owner of the Citywest Hotel from turning its convention centre into a concert venue.
Citywest fails in bid to expand venue

An Bord Pleanála has overturned a grant decision by South Dublin County Council and refused planning permission for the development.

The owner of Citywest, Tetrarch Capital — which paid €29m for the hotel in 2014 — was seeking to increase the capacity of the hotel’s convention centre from 4,100 to 6,000 and stage concerts there.

Anne Mansfield — the widow of the former owner of Citywest, Jim Mansfield —also opposed the plan.

In refusing planning permission, An Bord Pleanála on a 6:2 majority voted to disregard the recommendation of its own inspector who recommended that planning permission be granted.

The planning board stated it wasn’t satisfied with the information submitted and that the proposal would have a significant negative impact on the residential amenities of the area due to traffic congestion and evening and night time noise.

The inspector in the case recommended that planning be granted after concluding that the development “would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety”.

The planning board’s decision represents a major blow to Tetrarch Capital’s expansion plans for the hotel, where it was anticipating double-digit growth in revenue and profitability last year.

The business recorded pre-tax profits of €1.5m in 2015 as revenues soared to €22.8m. Jim Mansfield developed Citywest and it remains Ireland’s largest hotel with 789 rooms.

In a submission to An Bord Pleanála, consultants for Amphitheatre Ltd — the company which operates the 3Arena — stated that “the [Citywest] site is almost 15km from Dublin city centre and a concert venue in this location is likely to detract from venues in the city centre such as the seated area of the 3Arena, the Gaiety Theatre, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and the Olympia; and as a result have a negative impact on the vitality and primacy of the city centre”.

The 3Arena’s planning consultants also stated that the “use of this edge of city site for public concerts is highly inconsistent with the overall character of the area which is typically residential, including local amenities and uses such as schools and convenience retail”.

Citywest said that there was an anti-competitive agenda at play in the 3Arena opposing the plan.

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