The owner of a 45-acre site outside Waterford city will be hit with fines in a bid to force development on the land, according to the chief executive of Waterford City and County Council.
The remains of the former Ard Rí Hotel, an iconic site which overlooks Waterford city, were bought in 2017 by Kilkenny businessman Seamus Walsh, who later declared €100m plans to transform the land into a five-star hotel and tourist village.
It has lain empty since and the local authority is considering “intervening” using vacant site legislation.
Chief executive of Waterford City and County Council Michael Walsh said the site’s “close proximity to the city centre”, at 1.5km away, makes it “an absolute priority for development”.
It was last open to customers in 2005 and has fallen into disrepair in the years since.
It is understood that the council and Seamus Walsh had unsuccessful discussions last year over the sale of some of the land — not in close proximity to the old hotel — to the local authority for housing.
“We want that site to be developed with or without the North Quays,” Michael Walsh said of the council’s plans.
A lot of it should be standard housing but we’d welcome a hotel or economic development or otherwise there. It’s deliberately zoned as a mixed opportunity site to allow for that mix.
He said the vacant site levy would be one method for encouraging development, which, if successfully applied, would see a 3% tax on the market value of the land imposed on the o