Me mother trusts the man about as far as she could throw his private jet – having had a few run-ins with him on Blackberry Lane – but controversial property developer Johnny Ronan might just be onto a good thing in Greystones.
At a recent meeting between his property group, Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE), and Wicklow County Council officials – including chief executive Bryan Doyle – a proposal to develop apartments and a “village centre” on council-owned lands in the town were discussed.
The plan includes three clusters of residential accommodation, a cinema, shops and a restaurant. There are rumours also circulating that the village may include a much-needed hotel in the town, to finally replace the ghostly monument to greed and stupidity that is The La Touche Hotel today. Councillors involved in the meeting expressed their keenness to Ronan and co. for a hotel development on the site rather than a large-scale residential development.
The council official also informed RGRE that there were other parties also interested, and that any development agreement would have to be “open and transparent”.
The site in question is on Mill Road, sandwiched between the new Greystones Medical Centre beside the South Beach car park and lands belonging to IDA Ireland, with the ‘village’ being a joint development between RGRE and Wicklow County Council. The council would continue to own the lands, whilst the property group would have a ground lease.
There are many in the town who have been crying out for a cinema, but even more have long been baffled by the fact that a popular seaside town such as Greystones no longer has a hotel for the many, many tourists who flock here. And with the marina nearing completion, and The Happy Pear taking over the world one lentil burger at a time, those visitor numbers look set to increase.
As is so often the case when it comes to planning, news of the development was buried in a short Sunday Times article back on June 26th. Just to make sure everything is “open and transparent”.
Playboy Ronan exited Nama last year through a €300 refinancing of his debts, and is currently involved in several new projects, including hotel developments in both Enniskerry (where his previous company, Treasury Holdings, opened the Ritz-Carlton) and Delgany.
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