LIMERICK businessman John Cox has assured the public he has no intention of allowing lapdancing in the basement of 100 O’Connell Street.
The former Trinity Rooms boss has instead found a client who plans opening a restaurant and wine bar on a street that has been losing businesses in recent years. Mr Cox has a long-term lease of the building and has the consent of the owner for his plans which involve “nothing untoward”, he told the Leader.
Publican Kieran Murray, who owns neighbouring Isaac Taylor’s, has lodged an objection with Limerick City Council to Mr Cox’s plans to redevelop the basement of the Georgian building. The move follows a proposed joint venture between the neighbouring businessmen which turned sour.
In his objection, Mr Murray speculates that the ultimate use could involve the resurrection of lapdancing in Limerick. The city has been a lapdancing free zone since the closure of The Globe on Cecil Street six years ago.
Mr Murray was originally a co-applicant with Mr Cox on plans lodged in 2010 to develop two function rooms that would be linked to Isaac Taylor’s at 101 O’Connell Street.
Those joint plans have since come a-cropper and Mr Cox has proceeded in recent weeks with a new application for the two function rooms, without breaking through into Mr Murray’s premises.
Objecting on behalf of Kieran Murray, Gleeson McSweeney Architects say it is not explicitly stated on the new application as to what use the function rooms will be put.
Normally associated with licensed premises, it was “extremely unusual” to operate function rooms as stand-alone entities, Pat McSweeney writes.
“Thus it is clear that a definite use for the premises proposed needs to be clarified as any unspecified user could lead to incompatible uses such as lapdancing. If the premises were to be used in any such undesirable manner it would have a serious impact on my client’s business and could set up an undesirable precedent for this type of development in the area,” the objection continues.
But Mr Cox said he has no intention of allowing such a precedent be set at 100 O’Connell Street. His clients instead plan to open a restaurant and wine bar, the type of business he feels would be a positive development for the city.
“We are currently awaiting a final determination by the planners on the application,” Mr Cox said.
“The application was initially supported by Kieran Murray and the Brazen Head but that is no longer the case and the plan has been amended. It is in nobody’s interests that there be any untoward activities on this premises. My clients are known to the landlord and to the applicant and have been working successfully in the (restaurant) business for 10 years without any issues,” he said.
Mr Cox said he had also made a submission to Limerick City Council in response to Mr Murray’s concerns, which are not confined to the use of the building but also encompass noise and heritage issues.
Limerick City Council is due to make a decision on the application next week.