The Imperial Hotel building, Castlebar.

Historic Mayo hotel expected to be sold soon to private investor

The Imperial Hotel in Castlebar, which has been closed since 2009, is expected to be sold by Mayo County Council to a private investor within the next number of months.

The council is actively engaging with an interested party to acquire the property and develop it as a boutique hotel.

The authority invited expressions of interest in respect of the building last summer and four submissions were lodged in response.

Now one of them remains locked in negotiations with senior council officials with a view to completing the sale at the earliest possible date.

The investor, who already operates a number of small hotels in the region, has satisfied the council in regard to his determination to restore the hotel to its former glory.

However, the sale cannot be signed-off on without the support of the elected members of Castlebar Municipal District and Mayo County Council.

Interestingly, two Castlebar members, Councillor Michael Kilcoyne and Councillor Blackie Gavin, had voted against a motion last May to seek expressions of interest for the property on the grounds that it should be retained in public ownership at a time when part of a €8.53 million allocation from the government's urban regeneration and development fund had been set aside to repurpose the building as an innovation hub.

However, the five other elected members were satisfied that the funding in question could be transferred to other 'urban core' projects in the event of the hotel being sold.

The former Castlebar Town Council acquired the property in 2011 for a sum of €800,000 but it subsequently fell into a derelict state, much to the dismay and anger of the local community.

It is understood that in the event of the interested party acquiring the hotel, the connection with Michael Davitt and the Land League, which was founded there in August 1879, will be retained in a fitting manner.

When contacted, Councillor Cyril Burke welcomed the fact the sale is progressing and he hopes it will be brought to a successful conclusion after years of false hope and uncertainty.

“To see it reopening as a hotel is something we all want to see as it would contribute so much to the town centre.

"I look forward to being fully updated on the matter as soon as the council is in a position to do so,” he added.

The Imperial Hotel first started trading as a hotel in 1720 and had 21 bedroom when it last operated as a business prior to 2009.

Its unique history clearly underlines its massive potential as a boutique hotel.