Wednesday 24 July 2019

Smurfit: 'Friends of mine want to buy the K Club'

Special K: Dr Michael Smurfit pictured at his house at the K Club
Special K: Dr Michael Smurfit pictured at his house at the K Club
K Club
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Millionaire businessman Dr Michael Smurfit has said the sale of the K Club has attracted a "nice degree of interest" from investors, and from friends who have approached him personally with a view to acquiring the five-star golf resort.

But the legendary paper and packaging tycoon told the Irish Independent this week that he has yet to enter into exclusive talks with a prospective purchaser, and that no timeline has been set for the sale of the Kildare property, which famously served as the venue for the Ryder Cup in 2006.

"I've no timeline. This isn't the best time of year for hotel sales. The best time is ahead of us," Dr Smurfit said.

Asked for comment on the profile of those who had expressed their interest in the K Club either to him, or through the selling agent, Savills Ireland, he said: "People who have stayed there, and people who are friends of mine. There's a nice degree of interest. We'll see what happens."

Asked if he was happy with the pricing being mooted currently by prospective purchasers, Dr Smurfit said: "I'm not unhappy, but one is never satisfied with what one gets, that's for sure. Nobody is in exclusivity at the moment."

Agent Savills Ireland brought the K Club to the market last July with a guide price of €80m.

Commenting at the time on his and his family's decision to sell the property, Dr Smurfit said: "I will be very sad to see the K Club sold or part of it sold. I have had very many happy times there with my family and friends.

"It has been a big part of my life, but I am spending more time overseas these days. We have decided to do this because of my advancing years."

Located on the banks of the River Liffey in Straffan, Co Kildare, the K Club sits on a 550-acre estate, and comprises a 134-bedroom hotel and two 18-hole championship golf courses designed by the late Arnold Palmer.

Apart from the Ryder Cup, the famous resort hosted the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and 13 European Opens.

The original house and estate was developed in 1832 by the Barton wine family.

Modelled on a French château, the property still retains many of its original architectural features, artwork and antiques. It opened as a luxury hotel in 1991 and was Ireland's first AA Five Red Star Property.

The K Club estate features a Victorian walled garden and fishing on the River Liffey, which runs through the resort.

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