This new hotel has replaced River House at Chancery Street has been vacant since the motor taxation service moved out in 2007. It was owned for about 15 years by developers Joe and Patrick Linders who are best known for their involvement in the revival of the Smithfield area of Dublin.
River House was a 5-storey office block on Chancery Street, Dublin. It was described as a "brutalist eyesore" by the Sunday Times. It was ugly be any definition.
Permission to build River House was granted in 1972, and the building was completed in 1973. It had curtain walling at ground and 1st floor levels, with 4 additional storeys above with pre-cast cladding. The architect of the building has been disputed. Frank McDonald attributed it to John Thompson and Partners, but this led to a libel suit during which it was stated that "neither John or David Thompson of the firm John Thompson and Partners had anything to do with the design or erection of River House". It appears to have been the work of Patrick J. Sheahan and Partners.
After a dispute between the Department of Justice and the Dublin Corporation as to who would occupy the building, the Corporation established its motor tax office in the office block, and for many years it was Dublin's only motor tax office. The building stood vacant from the late 2000s, and attracted anti-social behaviour.
River House was described as "scourge" to the area, and "is considered to be of little or no architectural merit". It was recorded by the Dublin City Council as a dangerous building in February 2016.
River House was initially purchased by Joe and Patrick Linders, who were involved in the redevelopment of parts of the Smithfield area. The building was purchased by Melonmount Ltd in 2017 for €8 million, and permission was sought to demolish it and replace it with a hotel. The financier, Derek Quinlan, was an advisor on the deal. An Taisce have been critical of the proposed replacement building, describing it as "monolithic" and "lumpen". River House was demolished in 2018.