Hotelier buys Camden Quay site for €3.5m

Second bid for a Cork hotel by John Kajani, who owns hotels in London, Dublin and Waterford
Hotelier buys Camden Quay site for €3.5m

A computer-generated view of the planned Camden Place office development.

A prominent quayside Cork city building/site has been bought for €3.5 million by an UK/Irish group with hotels development and ownership background, but who failed to get planning approval two years ago for a 146-bed budget hotel on the city’s South Terrace.

Now changed hands is the high-profile, cleared c half acre Camden Place property on Camden Quay, facing Cork’s Opera House, and 75 metres from St Patrick’s Bridge.

Sources identify the buyer as John Kajani, associated with companies Carra Shore and the Seraphine Group, who own hotels in London, Dublin and Waterford. They say he may seek to develop a three-star hotel of up to 180 bedrooms there.

The high-profile Camden Quay site has had a very chequered past in the previous two decades, and has a full planning grant for c 70,000 sq ft of offices.

However, it’s considered more suited to uses such as an hotel than offices. It  was for sale  in February of this year, just before the country’s first lockdown, by Cork based agents Cushman & Wakefield, with a €4 million price guide.

Unexpectedly, the sale process continued right through this Covid-19 stricken year, which has impacted most dramatically on the hospitality sector, and ownership has now changed hands.

Other property market sources have identified Mr Kajani as the successful €3.5m purchaser. It’s expected his focus on Camden Quay, the former Atkins/McKenzie building, behind the site’s  Italianate façade will be to open his first Cork hotel.

Mr Kajani’s company Carra Shore was refused planning by Cork City Council on an offices property he’d bought for c €1m at 31-33 South Terrace, incorporating red-brick Georgian buildings, for a 146 bed budget hotel.

His just-acquired Camden Quay site is near Cork’s Maldron Hotel by Shandon and MacCurtain Street where the Metropole is due an extension/second ‘M’ hotel, where a budget or ‘micro’ hotel is being developed at the foot of York Hill. A further hotel has also been mooted for the Coliseum site, while the Dean hotel by Kent Railway Station is due to open shortly.

Office planning was secured for the Camden Place site four years ago by a company called Stone Work Properties, and associated was architect James Murphy O’Connor It was taken over by Stone Work Properties around 2014 when it sold for c €750,000, who secured an office planning grnt on it.

It had been sold in 2005 to Oyster Developments for €12.2 million, when the then-vendors were previously linked to North Gate Investments and architects firm Boyd Barrett Murphy O’Connor. It also had served as a temporary Circuit Courthouse for a period before being sold to Killarney-based Oyster Developments for €12.2 million, showing quite a rollercoaster in values.

Most recently, prior to site clearance, it had been occupied by a community arts group, who quite presciently branded it the Camden Palace Hotel.

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