TEMPLE BAR -- A mainstay of my existence in Temple Bar--the Central Percs coffee shop--is closed forever. U2 and The Clarence wanted the property to expand the hotel with a €35m extension and offered Richard Coffey the right kind of money to vacate. They need the space for 45 more rooms, a spa and a swimming pool. So the coffee grinder, CD player and newly installed broadband link are turned off forever. And with them go a chunk of authentic Temple Bar--westward to County Kildare.
From The Irish Times:
The owners of Dublin's Clarence hotel, who include Bono, The Edge and businessman Harry Crosbie, have reportedly paid around €5 million to the owner of a neighbouring property after he agreed to withdraw an appeal to An Bord Pleanála against their plans to enlarge the hotel.
Under the terms of the settlement the hotel is to get ownership of the adjoining three-storey building at 10 East Essex Street in Temple Bar where Richard Coffey ran a coffee shop, Central Percs, for several years. His family has owned the modest 19th-century premises for the past 96 years.
Mr Coffey, the only objector to the huge extension to the hotel, has formally withdrawn his appeal against the planning decision by Dublin City Council. He had complained that the proposed seven-storey wing at 8 and 9 Essex Street would be too high and would seriously impact on the character of the area.
Mr Coffey, who lives over the shop, admitted yesterday that he had got "a good price for the property", but said it was "ridiculous" to suggest that the payment was €5 million.
I spoke to Richard Coffey today and he said, "Don't believe everything you read in the paper". Most people think the market value of the property is around €2 million. According to the Companies Office, the holding company for The Clarence recorded a pre-tax loss of €302,000 in 2003. The hotel ended the year with accumulated losses of €11.2 million.