In Athlone, Ireland, Cork-based iNua Hospitality has acquired the 12-year-old Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa in Athlone (on the banks of the River Shannon and opposite Athlone Castle) for €9.5 million.
The property was previously managed by the Galway-based Earls Holdings until Ulster Bank appointed Kieran Wallace of KPMG as receiver in 2012. It was put up for sale last September with market sources expecting it to sell for about €6.5 million.
It is not known yet whether iNua, which previously acquired the Radisson Blu Hotel at Little Island in Cork for €8 million and the Radisson Blu in Limerick for €3.5 million, will rebrand.
The sale of the hotel as a going concern was conducted by CBRE's hotels division with the agreement of the receiver to Earl's Holdings, Kieran Wallace of KPMG.
“The Radisson Athlone is an ideal complement to our two existing Radisson properties in Cork and Limerick and will enable us to drive better efficiencies, service levels and profitability in conjunction with our operating partner Rezidor,” iNua CEO Noel Creedon said. “Athlone now brings the overall iNua Portfolio to five hotels.”
Dermot Curtin of CBRE Hotels said the Radisson Blu had attracted strong investor interest from Ireland and abroad. “This latest transaction in the provincial Ireland hotel market shows again that there is very strong demand for well-located, modern and profitable hotel operations in the larger provincial centers and especially those regional centers like Athlone, that are within easy reach of Dublin and Ireland's other major cities,” he said.
Ireland by the Numbers
INua's focus on smaller cities is very deliberate. Last fall, Creedon made some waves when he declared that iNua would not buy any properties in Dublin despite building up a €20 million fund for hotel acquisitions earlier that year. A month later, JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group reported that Dublin is suffering a "major shortage" in hotel rooms, and that the city needed an additional 3,000 rooms to satisfy current demand. From 2010 to 2015, the number of international visitors to Ireland increased 33 percent to 8.6 million, and the country as a whole needs more rooms to accommodate the influx. To that end, as many as 7,600 hotel rooms are expected to open across Ireland over the next three years. In all, 13 hotels were under construction in the broader Irish hotel market at the end of March.