Saturday 17 March 2018

Developer Ronan targets London return

Developer Johnny Ronan Pic: Gerry Mooney
Developer Johnny Ronan Pic: Gerry Mooney
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Developer Johnny Ronan has said that he intends to return to building in London despite the uncertainty thrown up by Brexit.

"We are looking at opportunities in London post-Brexit. We'll be back to develop in London," Ronan said in an interview with Property Week when asked how big an opportunity the UK's departure from the EU might be for his company, Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE).

Ronan believes the full extent of the Brexit opportunity for Ireland "remains to be seen", but our future status as the only English-speaking country in the EU after Brexit should reinforce our place as a leading foreign direct investment destination, especially for US companies.

However, he cautioned that the terms of the UK's eventual trade deal with the EU would "matter a lot to Ireland". Having said that, he noted that in 2016, Ireland's export of goods to North America had been worth more than twice as much as its exports to the UK - €31bn versus €13bn - with no trade deals in place with the EU.

"Trade isn't a zero sum game - almost everyone benefits from it - and the opportunities for Ireland will be best if there is a prosperous and growing economy in the UK as well as in the EU," Ronan added.

Asked what other opportunities he and RGRE are looking at, he said: "We moved from oversupply to undersupply in almost every sector of the property market in Dublin during the past four years, so there are opportunities to develop new buildings profitably in almost every sector."

Referring to the sectors RGRE might now target, he added: "The student and private rented sectors are obvious given the recent social and demographic changes we have seen in Ireland.

"There is space for a small number of true five-star hotels in the market. The continuing evolution of how companies and individuals use office space is something we continue to pay close attention to and the opportunity to partner with providers of co-working space to complement our more traditional office investments is one we are also likely to capitalise on."

Asked if he is an optimist or pessimist by nature, Ronan said: "Optimist. I believe in solutions rather than problems and equally in managing and minimising risks."

Sunday Indo Business

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