The sale of the Gresham Hotel in Dublin is thought to have netted a considerable profit for Nama
Buyer is fast-growing business with 105 hotels and resorts in 19 countries
A Spanish company that has just opened a €280 million hotel on New York’s Times Square has been named as the winning bidder for the Gresham in Dublin.
Reports at the weekend named Spain’s Riu Hotels and Resorts as the likely buyer for the Gresham after it lodged a bid of €92 million for the property on O’Connell Street in the city.
The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) put the hotel on the market earlier this year and its board is expected to approve the sale to Riu shortly. The State body did not comment yesterday.
It is thought that any sale of the property would first have to get the approval of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission before it can go ahead.
The buyer is a fast-growing hotels business. Last week, it opened the Riu Plaza New York Times Square, which is located on Manhattan’s Restaurant Row.
Riu built the 647-room hotel for $310 million (€280 million), its biggest investment to date, which included the cost of buying the site and building and decorating the property.
The group has 105 hotels and resorts in 19 countries, including Spain, Portugal, Germany, Morocco, Latin America, Sri Lanka and other locations.
Its owners are the Riu family, which founded the business on the Balearic island of Mallorca in 1953, and TUI Group, the German travel and tourism giant. Siblings Luis and Carmen Riu run the business.
Riu and Tifco, an Irish hotel group backed by merchant bank Goldman Sachs, were known for some time to be in the final shakeout for the Gresham. Most sources predicted it would sell for more than €85 million.
This will be the Spanish group’s first foray into Ireland. Mr Riu said in an interview earlier this year that Dublin was one of the city’s on the group’s list of possible targets. He also indicated that it could seek a second property if its bid for Gresham was successful.
The deal is thought to have netted a considerable profit for Nama. The agency acquired the hotel after it took over loans from the new defunct Anglo Irish Bank to Precinct Investments, which bought the Dublin property in 2004 as part of its €117 million buyout of the Gresham group.
The well-known hotel was built in 1817 and has 323 rooms and 10 suites. A revival in tourism and economic activity since 2012 means Dublin is now running short of hotel rooms.