Business Irish

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Barrett's Bartra eyes up New Gen sites

Greg Kavanagh's company is selling prime Dublin sites in Killiney, Foxrock and Howth

From left, Bartra Capital’s development and construction director Grainne Hollywood, Bartra founder Richard Barrett and chief executive officer Mike Flannery
From left, Bartra Capital’s development and construction director Grainne Hollywood, Bartra founder Richard Barrett and chief executive officer Mike Flannery
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

Richard Barrett's Bartra Capital is believed to be bidding on a portfolio of valuable south Dublin sites being sold by Greg Kavanagh's New Generation Homes.

The portfolio is valued at around €250m. It is thought to contain sites in locations in Dublin including Foxrock, Killiney, Howth, Blackrock, Harold's Cross, Rathmichael, Saggart, Cabra, Baldoyle, Coolock, Finglas, Cabinteely and Dundrum. The La Touche Hotel in Greystones, the Europa site in Blackrock and Stanford House on Westminster Road are also thought to be part of the portfolio.

Other property groups believed to have expressed interest in the portfolio are Michael O'Flynn's construction group and Broadhaven, which is backed by Dermot Desmond.

Eastdil is handling the sale.

Richard Barrett is perhaps best known for his involvement in Treasury Holdings, the property development group he ran with business partner Johnny Ronan before Nama backed a move to wind it up in 2012.

Barrett now spends much of his time in China. The Mayo native has operated numerous businesses in the Far East and speaks Mandarin.

He launched Bartra early this year, outlining plans to invest more than €1bn in property and infrastructure-related ventures.

The group is putting €1.2bn to work in the healthcare, nursing homes, housing and renewables sectors.

Barrett has been particularly vocal on the issue of social housing in recent months, calling for the appointment of a social housing tsar to deal with serious shortages.

He reportedly submitted plans to Government to make social housing available earlier this year, though was quoted as saying that he and other firms could not move forward until they know what the new political regime will be.

While Bartra was founded by Barrett, the business is led by CEO Michael Flannery, ex-chief operations officer of CIE between 2012 and 2015.

Its finance director is Niall Doran, previously a senior executive with AIB who before joining the lender was head of corporate finance for the McNamara Group.

Kavanagh's New Generation Homes, meanwhile, is sitting on a vast amount of land in Dublin and its hinterland following an aggressive buying spree that started in 2011. The Arklow builder's backer is M&G, the investment group which manages €340bn in assets

Now New Generation is moving to sell some of these as Dublin faces down an acute property shortage.

In 2015, only 12,600 new houses were completed, against an estimated need for 21,000. This is placing huge pressure on the private rented sector and increasing demand for social housing.

Kavanagh's company is still in the market for new developments.

It recently emerged as underbidder on a six-acre waterfront site at Spencer Dock in the north Dublin Docklands, behind Johnny Ronan and Colony Capital.

The site was owned by Treasury Holdings before the company collapsed. It has planning permission for a 169-bedroom hotel, 340,000sq.ft of offices and 165 apartments.

Sunday Indo Business

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