THE Strand Hotel has been bought for a sum in the region of €25m, the Limerick Leader can reveal.
The price fetched for the 184-bedroom hotel is understood to be “slightly less” than €25m, but in excess of the guide price of €17m, according to industry sources.
The hotel has been purchased by US billionaire John Malone, who has bought up a number of Irish hotels in recent months, including the Westin Hotel in Dublin for €65 million.
The Malone group is working with the Lalco Hotel Group that already operates the Strand Hotel in Limerick, so disruption should be minimal to the 180 staff employed by the hotel.
An industry source said the deal was the “best possible outcome for the Strand locally”.
Interest in the four-star Strand Hotel was strong, joint agents for the sale, Savills and CBRE said. A statement by the agents issued this Tuesday afternoon confirmed the sale to John Malone.
“CBRE and Savills are delighted to confirm that the sale of one of the finest hotels in the Mid West region of Ireland – the Limerick Strand Hotel – to US investor John Malone has now successfully completed,” it said.
“While the exact sale price has not been confirmed, we understand it to be in excess of €20 million.”
Mr Barrett was not available for comment, while Sean Lally, manager of the hotel, also declined to comment.
Savills had claimed that the Strand to be one of “Ireland’s busiest and most profitable, modern hotels outside of Dublin city centre”.
The hotel has shown strong growth in 2014, making a profit of more than €1.5 million in the past year.
It was built in 2007 at a cost in excess of €40m and formed part of a larger development – including upwards of 200 apartments – carried out by John Lally’s Lalco Holdings. Mr Lally, no relation of Sean Lally, runs Lalco Hotel Group along with Paul Higgins. The group currently operates the Trinity City Hotel and Hilton Hotel in Dublin on behalf of Mr Malone, the billionaire Irish American businessman who owns UPC parent company Liberty Global and the Discovery Channel.
News of the sale of the Strand comes soon after confirmation that JP McManus has purchased Adare Manor for a fee believed to be in the region of €30m, while the Savoy Hotel was recently included as part of the sale of the block known as the City Central Residences for some €18.5m.
In recent times, deals have also been secured for the former Jury’s hotel, Patrick Punch’s hotel, the Radisson and the Castletroy Park hotel. The George Hotel is also for sale and a purchase is expected to be announced shortly.
Mr Barrett, head of hotels for Savills, said in September: “There’s a lot of hotels going (on the market) in the past few years, and in the vast majority of cases there’s a lot of investment afterwards, which lifts hotels to new standards.
“The Strand hotel is already trading at extremely high levels and is a very strong business. I would not think the staff need to be worried in that hotel at all. It is one of the best hotels outside of Dublin, or in the country full stop, and it should remain that way.”