Premier Inn to Open in Cork in 2023

Main Photo: Morrisons Quay, where the new Premier Inn is opening in 2023

Date: November 2019

Location: Morrisons Quay, Cork, Ireland

Name: Cork Premier Inn – opening 2023

No. of Keys: 183

Seller: The site is currently unoccupied.

Buyer: UK’s largest hotel business ramps up expansion in Ireland with the acquisition of their fourth site.

Whitbread, the owner of Premier Inn working with its development partners Greenleaf Group and Warren Private, has secured a deal for a new Premier Inn hotel in Cork city centre, marking its first site in Ireland outside of Dublin.

Premier Inn is expanding rapidly into Ireland as it grows its presence from a single hotel at Dublin Airport to 3,500 rooms in Dublin and across the country.

Situated in a prime location at Morrisons Quay on the banks of the River Lee, the new 183-bedroom Cork Premier Inn hotel will be at the heart of the city’s rapidly expanding and dynamic cultural centre.

Kevin Murray, Head of Acquisitions for Whitbread in Ireland, said: “Securing a new Premier Inn hotel at Morrisons Quay is a major milestone in our expansion into Ireland as it marks our first site outside of Dublin. Cork has an exciting future as a cultural and educational centre, so we see real potential in the business and leisure markets here. With significant additional bedroom requirements, we’re actively seeking freehold and leasehold opportunities for Premier Inn right across the country”.

After signalling its intent to expand into the Irish market last year, Whitbread has secured more than 500 Premier Inn rooms in Dublin city centre in three hotels – at South Great George’s Street, Jervis Street and Castleforbes Business Park. The hotels are planned to open from early 2021 onwards.

Premier Inn’s first site in Cork is within a five-minute walk of Cork’s new events arena currently under construction, next door to the College of Commerce and across the river from the internationally renowned School of Music and the new University of Cork Business School, due to open in 2023. The hotel will be delivered alongside the conversion into offices of three protected buildings currently on the site.

Mark Elliott, Director of Dublin-based Greenleaf Group said: “The proposed development at Morrisons Island is an important regeneration scheme for Cork. It covers a prominent and vacant city block on Morrisons Island. The objective behind the proposed development is to re-utilise the existing and protected buildings, which are currently neglected, and create a vibrant new building of the highest quality on the remaining land. We hope that the proposal will be well received by Cork City Council and we look forward to working with all stakeholders during the planning and development of the site.”

After growing in Dublin and Cork, Whitbread sees the potential for Premier Inn hotels in other cities including Galway, Limerick and Killarney. The business is seeking sites as freeholds, leaseholds, office to hotel conversions as well as going concern purchases.

Dan O’Connor, Executive Vice President of Hotels and Hospitality at JLL, who has been working with Whitbread on its expansion in Ireland added:

“Cork is a very strong hotel market, which recorded double digit RevPAR growth of +14% in 2018. JLL are delighted to assist Whitbread in securing one of the most central sites in Cork, which is also a significant milestone in their nationwide roll out.”

Outside of the UK and Ireland, Whitbread is expanding rapidly in Germany with three Premier Inn hotels open and trading more than 7,000 bedrooms in the secured pipeline. In the UK and Ireland, the business sees the potential or 110,000 Premier Inn rooms.

THPT Comment: Skift and others worry about Whitbread/Premier Inn being a takeover target as it still owns the vast majority of the land the hotels sit on. With the value of Whitbread’s debt and equity not much higher than the value of its real estate portfolio, there’s certainly cause for interest. So good to see they have partnered up with Greenleaf and Warren Private for this Cork venture.

First Seen: Whitbread website

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