International investor Europa Capital acquires iconic Clerys premises in €63m deal
International investor Europa Capital has acquired the Clerys premises on O'Connell Street from businesswoman Deirdre Foley's Natrium consortium for a figure in the region of €63m, independent.ie can reveal.
The deal, which is understood to have been completed in recent days is expected to see Europa Capital deliver on Natrium’s plan to transform the former Dublin department store through the delivery of a major mixed-use development comprising offices, retail units, leisure facilities and a boutique hotel.
The hugely-ambitious project was given planning permission by Dublin City Council in December 2016 despite the objections of former workers who lost their jobs when the landmark department store suddenly changed ownership.
Natrium, which is 20pc-owned by Ms Foley’s D2 Private and 80pc-owned by London-based Cheyne Capital acquired Clerys and its property portfolio in 2015 for a figure in the region of €29m.
Europa Capital is widely acknowledged as one of Europe’s leading investors in the retail, office and residential sectors. The company’s existing portfolio already includes major developments in the UK, France, Germany and Spain.
News of Europa Capital’s acquisition of Clerys will come as something of a surprise to property industry observers.
Up until now, developer and Press Up Entertainment chief, Paddy McKillen Jr, had been considered as being in “pole position” to secure ownership of the iconic O’Connell Street property.
While McKillen is understood to have made an offer of more than €60m for Clerys and engaged in detailed discussions in relation to its potential purchase, Europa Capital’s bid of €63m ultimately prevailed.
It is understood Mr McKillen, who is a son of the Belfast-born property investor, Paddy McKillen Sr, may still be involved in the proposed Clerys scheme.
Earlier this year, McKillen Jr was one of up to 30 parties who expressed an interest in operating the hotel which was proposed by Natrium as part of the department store site's redevelopment.
Prior to offering Clerys for sale, Natrium had engaged the services of Knight Frank, Savills and CBRE to secure office and retail tenants and a hotel operator as part of its own plan to proceed with the delivery of the hugely ambitious project.
Prior to that, McKillen's father, Paddy McKillen Sr, came close to acquiring Clerys in his own right in 2013, when it was owned by the US-headquartered restructuring specialists Gordon Brothers Group.
The Belfast-born property investor had envisioned the reinvention of the famous store.