After Dublin hotel buy, Locke plans major expansion

Dublin City Center

Late last month, the former Zanzibar Hotel in Dublin was sold for more than €10 million—about twice its asking price—to Luxembourg-based "aparthotel" group Locke following a bidding war. Real estate company CBRE reportedly received more than 20 offers for the site—yet another sign of Dublin's need for accommodations.) 

Now, Locke is reportedly seeking permission to build more than 100 guestrooms on the site as part of a €45 million investment.

“We were looking for an envelope large enough to accommodate 100-plus rooms in a market that is a mix of both leisure and corporate," Eric Jafari, MD of SACO Property Group (which has led the development of the Locke brand) told the Irish Times, noting that the site is close to both Temple Bar and Silicon Docks.

Looking ahead, the company wants to make the space into a “hub” for the community, with co-working space and local F&B options. Ultimately, Jafari said, Locke would like to operate about 500 bedrooms in Dublin, but recent tax changes may make future acquisitions difficult. 

“But we’re bullish specifically on the Dublin hotel market. There’s an undersupply of product and more specifically the type of product we’re looking to deliver doesn’t exist,” Jafari said.

Locke and SACO are both affiliates of Oaktree Capital Management, the U.S.-based "alternative investment group" that has invested heavily in the office and residential markets in Ireland in recent years.