The Strand Hotel in Limerick - formerly the site of Jury's Hotel - closed its doors today with the loss of 74 jobs.
Jury's Doyle Hotel Group sold the hotel to Damesfield Ltd last year for just under €10m.
The hotel has operated since then as The Strand Hotel. However, due to what management described as "difficult trading conditions" and a decline in coporate and leisure business, the hotel has closed.
A new €75m development is planned for the site, consisting of a four star hotel, with 171 bedrooms and a 450 seat banqueting/conference hall, health and fitness centre and a penthouse business centre.
The development will also include residential accomodation comprising of 136, one, two and three bedroomed apartments and a 400 plus capacity underground car park.
The new hotel will employ approximately 150 staff, while up to 200 people will be employed during the contruction stage.
The €75m development is scheduled to take up to two years in total to complete.
While staff at the hotel were aware of the planned redvelopment some workers say they thought the hotel wouldn't close until the end of the month.
"We were expecting it but not as sudden as it was. It's like a death in the family. I'm 31 years here and my wife is 27 years here,"said John Dempsey, shop steward with SIPTU at the hotel.
In a statement issued on behalf of the hotel today, John Lally, managing director of Damesfield Ltd said "generous" severance packages had been agreed with SIPTU for all of the hotel's 74 staff.
“When we announced the €75m Limerick Strand Hotel Development on November 23, 2004, we indicated we would commence discussions with SIPTU, the staff representatives, to agree a severance package in advance of any proposed closure. The company and SIPTU union representatives recently agreed a generous severance package," said Mr Lally who cited "difficult trading conditions" as one of the reasons for the closure.
“Due to difficult trading conditions and the fall off of our corporate and leisure business since we announced our planned redevelopment of the property, we have decided to close the Limerick Strand Hotel today, May 9. We are confident that the planning application, which we have made to Limerick City Council, will be processed satisfactorily," he added.
Mr Lally went on to pay tribute to the staff at the hotel some of whom had more than 40 years of service.