Friday 28 November 2014

O'Flynn confident €150m tower will prove its worth

Published 16/08/2014 | 02:30

Michael O'Flynn at The Elysian gardens, Cork city. Provision
Michael O'Flynn is framed by a copper sculpture in The Elysian gardens, Cork city. Provision

IRELAND'S tallest residential structure, the €150m Elysian Tower in Cork, has doubled its occupancy rate, but is still more than two-thirds empty.

However, despite the revelation the Elysian's mastermind, developer Michael O'Flynn (inset), has remained adamant that the 17-storey building - hailed on its 2008 launch as "Cork's finest address" - will prove its worth.

Mr O'Flynn recently won back control of his property empire from US investment giant Blackstone following a High Court battle.

Blackstone's subsidiary, Carbon Finance, bought €1.8bn in loans tied to Mr O'Flynn and his companies from Nama last May.

The Elysian, which occupies a three-acre Cork city centre block, celebrates its sixth birthday next month.

While just 29 of the 211 residential units were occupied in 2010, the Irish Independent has learned that 60 units are now occupied with further negotiations under way.

Around 16 are owner-occupied with the rest taken up on lease. Rents vary from around €1,000 for a one-bedroom apartment to €1,600 per month for a two-bedroom penthouse.

Lettings are rising as the developer is able to pursue his favoured leasing strategy, which was opposed by NAMA.

The plan is to block lease the Elysian to avail of its rental potential until the apartment market has fully recovered.

The Elysian has secured block bookings of apartments by US computer giant Apple.

In 2008, a one-bedroom Elysian apartment was on sale for €375,000 while €2m was being asked for the triplex penthouses.

The Elysian has been further boosted by a take-up in its ground-floor commercial units.

EuroMedic and El Vino wine bar will be joined next month by an Aldi supermarket, while planning permission is being sought for a new restaurant, offices and creche.

Elysian residents said they believed the complex was proving its worth.

"The apartments are great, very high quality and have wonderful views. But I suppose it would be nice to have some more people around," one resident said. At its launch party in 2008, the Elysian was marketed as "a beacon of light overlooking a city striding with confidence into the 21st century".

Irish Independent

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