Tuesday 17 October 2017

Profile: Mr Shopping Centre likes to stay under the radar

JOE O'Reilly is one of the most 'under the radar' developers in the country.

Known as 'Mr Shopping Centre" in the industry, he started out as a foreman with Manor Park Homes before setting up Castlethorn Construction with two others.

That business built thousands of houses and made him a fortune. However, the huge money came when he struck out on his own with a venture that became Chartered Land.

It was one of the biggest players in the shopping centre sector during the boom years.

Most notably, it was behind the construction of Dundrum Town Centre - now valued at more than €1bn - but Mr O'Reilly has also been involved in the Pavilions in Swords, north Co Dublin, as well as the Ilac Centre in Dublin.

He forked out nearly €600m for the Pavilions in the summer of 2006, but immediately sold off part of it and concentrated on a section that was earmarked for more development.

Mr O'Reilly was also heavily involved in the Dublin docklands - Facebook is now based at two of his showcase office blocks at 4 and 5 Grand Canal Square - as well as the Bord Gáis Theatre.

However, when the crash came, things quickly turned sour. At its peak, Mr O'Reilly and his related companies owed a reputed €2.8bn to Nama, although that has since reduced.

He was one of the so-called 'Maple 10' of Anglo Irish Bank borrowers who agreed to buy shares in the bank that were being sold by Seán Quinn in 2008.

Last year, he hired Andrew Gunne as chief executive of Chartered Land with a remit to explore investment from overseas. With this deal, it seems that strategy has already paid dividends.

Irish Independent

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