Plans to redevelop Clerys department store into a boutique hotel and rooftop dining destination will finally go ahead after a financial settlement for former Clerys workers was announced this week.
After buying the iconic O’Connell Street premises for €29m in 2015 the plans proposed by Natrium Consortium’ will see it become a ‘rooftop destination’ of restaurants and bars, offering the public a unique vantage point from which to enjoy panoramic views of the city.
The development, which is expected to cost €150m and take three years to complete, will also include high-end retail, offices and a 176-room hotel. The original feature stairs will also be restored to provide access to the former Clerys Tea Rooms.
The news follows the controversial closure of the landmark Dublin store in June 2015 triggered by campaign by former employees objecting to the Natrium’s plans to redevelop the Clerys site. On purchasing the site, Natrium sold the operating side of the business and put Clerys into liquidation with the loss of 460 staff and concession-holder jobs.
Following the 21-month long dispute which resulted from the closure of the department store, SIPTU announced a surprise settlement earlier this week to withdraw its objection to Natrium’s plans.
While the exact details of the settlement are confidential it is known that a “goodwill payment” for each of the former 135 workers will be given as well as a “process to recognise” their services when it comes to employment in the new development. There will also be considerable employment opportunities for local people in the northeast inner city.
SIPTU Clerys shop steward and Justice for the Clerys Workers Campaign spokesman, Gerry Markey, said that an agreement on a settlement was reached after meeting with a director of the Natrium Consortium Deirdre Foley. He said that the decision “will protect working conditions in the Clerys Development into the future.”