Business

Monday 24 July 2017

Wealthy investors pile into €60m Dublin hotel project

The proposed hotel will be behind the St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre.
The proposed hotel will be behind the St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre.
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

In a scheme reminiscent of the Ireland's property boom, a number of well-heeled Irish investors - including the former deputy CEO of the ESB - have stumped up more than €7m to help bankroll the development of a €60m aparthotel in Dublin city centre, the Irish Independent has learned.

UK group Marlin, which is headed by Irish chief executive John Corless, initially planned to construct a 195-unit development behind the St Stephen's Green shopping centre, with planning approval having been secured earlier this year.

But it's understood that the number of rooms will be expanded after the company reached agreement to acquire additional land surrounding the site.

It will be Marlin's first development in Ireland. The company was founded by and is owned by Mr Corless.

Among the investors who've injected money into the Marlin Apartments vehicle in Ireland is Phelim Moylan, the former managing director of South Midland Construction, which went into liquidation in 2007. He has invested €350,000 in Marlin's Irish arm.

But two of the biggest investments - for €1m and nearly €1.6m - are understood to have been made by medical consultants.

John Shine, a former deputy chief executive of the ESB, has invested €250,000. Mr Shine is currently the managing director, Networks, at Openeir, a unit of what used to be known as Eircom. He is also a past president of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce and was also the managing director of ESB Networks.

Other investors in Marlin's Irish venture include Micheal Mee, a son of tech entrepreneur Paschal. Mr Mee was at one stage a director of his father's AMT-Sybex software firm, which was sold in 2014 for an initial €100m in cash by outsource services giant Capita.

A spokeswoman for Marlin declined to comment on the investors who've piled into the company.

"It would be inappropriate to confirm or to give any information at the moment," she said, saying that the company was at the "final stages of contract" in its efforts to acquire the additional land around the acquired Dublin site.

There is a shortage of hotel rooms in the capital, and Marlin's scheme will tap into demand. It targets both business and leisure travellers at its existing six high-spec serviced apartment properties in London. Those aparthotels have over 700 units between them.

Its planning application for the Dublin property indicates that it will be a budget aparthotel targeted at short-stay business travellers to the city.

It added that the property would "ensure the provision of high quality hotel accommodation to support the continued promotion of tourism".

Last month, the Andrew's Lane theatre was sold for €4.4m and the site will be redeveloped as a so-called micro hotel. It was acquired by private investors headed by Adrian Shanagher's Firebreak Hospitality.

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