Sunday 18 November 2018

US-based Irish financier pays over €2m for former HQ of bankrupt lawyer

An Irish financier in the US has splashed out over €2m to buy the former HQ of bankrupt lawyer Brian O'Donnell on Dublin's Merrion Square
An Irish financier in the US has splashed out over €2m to buy the former HQ of bankrupt lawyer Brian O'Donnell on Dublin's Merrion Square
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

An Irish financier in the US has splashed out over €2m to buy the former HQ of bankrupt lawyer Brian O'Donnell on Dublin's Merrion Square, the Irish Independent has learned.

Sean Reynolds, a Co Louth native who oversees more than $3bn (€2.2bn) in assets as a managing director and senior portfolio manager with Lazard Asset Management in New York, confirmed that he and his wife Sarah have acquired the upmarket property.

They used a Delaware company in the US to buy the premises. Delaware firms don't have to publicly reveal who their owners are.

DOMESTIC

The Reynolds plan to return 62 Merrion Square to use as a domestic residence. As well as the 6,250 sq ft that will form the main house, they're also seeking to install a two-bed apartment in the basement. That will have a floor area of just over 1,600 sq ft.

Mr Reynolds, who is a member of the Irish Georgian Society, told the Irish Independent that he is "very happy to practice what he preaches" and that careful attention will be paid to restoring and highlighting original features.

"I would love to see these great properties retained by Irish people," he said. Mr Reynolds has sole Irish citizenship despite having worked in the United States for about 25 years. He said he's hoping a planning application to restore and refurbish the Merrion Square premises will be "well-received" by Dublin City Council.

He said that the fall in property prices since the boom had made it a more attractive option to make a purchase here. He declined to say how much he had paid for the building, but said there was competition from other interested buyers.

Mr Reynolds said the mews at the Merrion Square premises has already been refurbished and has been leased to a commercial tenant.

UNIVERSITY

He's hoping that some of his four children may decide to study at Trinity College in Dublin when they graduate from high school in the US. Mr Reynolds is a graduate of the university, where he studied engineering. He's a member of Trinity's US advisory board and is also a board member of the US arm of aid agency Goal.

"I'm passionate about getting more US high school graduates to Ireland and I'm hoping that our effort with our own kids could push more US graduates to think in like fashion," he said.

The building at Merrion Square had been used as Mr O'Donnell's law firm HQ since 1999.

But it was taken over by Bank of Ireland in 2011. The bank secured a €71.5m judgment against the lawyer in December 2011. Mr O'Donnell and his wife also owned 61 Merrion Square.

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