And, with 191 bedrooms, it’s also the largest hotel in Cork — and it enjoys very high occupancy levels.
Given those occupancy levels, bed rates, and profitability plus positioning, this long-awaited Nama hotel sale offer is expected to get very widespread interest and strong, overseas bids, as well as offers from local Irish investors after an unprecedented shake-up in Irish hotels ownership.
Its joint selling agents, Savills and JLL, say that the Clarion is “the leading hotel in Cork”, and note it has 25 years to run on a lease to Merzolt Ltd; it is operated by the Choice Hotels Group under the four-star Clarion brand, with an annual rent of €2.4m.
Guiding at €30m plus, the agents add there’s a 7.66% return to investors, “with bright prospects for future rental growth, buoyed by a robust Cork hotel trading market and positive developments within Cork City”.
Those expected new city developments include the grant yesterday of planning permission for the redevelopment of the Capitol cinema site, as well as an expected new convention/exhibition centre, while the Clarion is directly across the River Lee from the under-construction €50m One Albert Quay office block, with 200,000 sq ft of offices for 2,000 workers.
Set by City Hall, the large and luxurious Leeside hotel on Lapps Quay was itself a clarion call of quality design and comforts when it opened to a fanfare in 2005, an event accompanied by acrobats spinning from its five-floor high atrium, accompanied by dessert fountains of flowing chocolate.
However, while the economy turned sour after a few years, the Clarion Hotel itself thrived, helped in no small part by the closure for several years of the rival Kingsley Hotel upriver, after devastating Lee floods in 2009. The Clarion Hotel formed part of a mixed use scheme called City Quarter, valued all-in at the time at €100m by its developers Howard Holdings.
Meanwhile, Cork Chamber welcomed the green light for the Capitol cinema site project, with chief executive Conor Healy saying it heralds a bright new future for the city.