Wednesday 21 August 2019

Treasury Holdings: where are they now?

Johnny Ronan. Photo: Tony Gavin
Johnny Ronan. Photo: Tony Gavin

Former Treasury Holdings chiefs Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett are responsible for some of Ireland's most high-profile commercial property developments, including the Treasury Building on Dublin's Grand Canal Street, the Convention Centre Dublin at Spencer Dock, Central Park in Leopardstown and the Ritz Carlton Hotel (now trading as the Powerscourt Hotel) in Co Wicklow.

Its assets had, at one point, a combined value of more than €4.6bn.

Treasury went down in flames in 2012 however, with Nama's appointment of receivers to certain of its assets.

While Ronan (pictured) and Barrett went their separate ways after, both are now back in business. Since exiting Nama in 2015, Ronan has formed Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE), and is already working on over €1bn in new projects. RGRE's biggest development to date is the €150m Vertium office building on Dublin's Burlington Road. Other major projects under way and in the pipeline include a €300m mixed-use development extending to one million square feet of offices, and comprising a hotel and retail units at Spencer Place on Spencer Dock, and a €300m office campus at AIB's headquarters in Ballsbridge.

Ronan is also involved in an ambitious bid to build Dublin's tallest office building next to Tara Street station in Dublin city centre. While Dublin City Council rejected plans for the development of the proposed 22-storey (88m) Aqua Vetro building, Ronan has appealed the decision.

Shanghai-based Richard Barrett, meanwhile, has been involved in a series of start-ups through his new company, Bartra Capital Property Group. Among his interests are HengXinLi - an online platform which aims to give Chinese investors access to property in major international cities. Since its establishment in 2016, Barrett's new company has been actively acquiring residential development sites across the most-sought after locations in Dublin. Last April, Barrett teamed up with New York-based investment group Avenue Capital with the launch of Real Estate Loan Management. Backed by a fund of €200m, the new company intends to lend sums ranging from €1m to €25m over five years for commercial property development.

Others who cut their teeth at Treasury Holdings prior to the crash are now driving some of the country's most significant commercial property projects:

David Killion is now working as development director at Ballymore Properties' Dublin Landings scheme in the Dublin Docklands, while another Treasury alumnus, Brian Coppinger is leading the DAA's development of Dublin Airport Central.

Former Treasury Holdings man Niall O'Buachalla is now working as chief financial officer at Green Reit, while Kevin Nowlan is the CEO of Hibernia Reit. Derek Nolan is development director at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the sovereign wealth fund now bankrolling the delivery of Lansdowne Place on the site of the former Berkeley Court Hotel in Ballsbridge.

The former chief executive of Treasury Holdings' Irish operations, John Bruder, teamed up with another former executive, Niall Kavanagh, to form Burlington Real Estate. Last year, Bruder established the Appian Burlington Fund. A tie-up between Appian Asset Management and Burlington Real Estate, the fund was set up to invest €50m in commercial real estate across Ireland.

Former Treasury executive Rob Davies is CEO of the Arendon Development Company, Prague, while the former managing director of Treasury's international operations, Rob Tincknell, is chief executive officer of the Battersea Power Station Development Company in London.

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