Monday 26 February 2018

Secretive developer is 'delighted' with his court victory

Dearbhail McDonald

PADDY McKillen is said to be "delighted" with his victory in the Supreme Court yesterday.

Not that you would know anything about his glee, as Mr McKillen, one of Ireland's most prolific developers, is also amongst its most secretive. Notoriously media averse, the Belfast-born entrepreneur is best known for his redevelopment of a former hospital on Dublin's Jervis Street into one of the capital's busiest shopping centres.

Mr McKillen, who lives with his wife, the former model Maura McMenamin, in Foxrock, south County Dublin, has come through the property crash much better than many of his developer peers.

He insists that he is solvent and not in default on any of his loans and was the only big name developer to raise his head above the parapet and legally challenge NAMA, even if it meant staying away from the Four Courts in person.

Mr McKillen and his companies have won a major battle with NAMA, but it remains to be seen if he will win the loan-acquisition war.

This is because NAMA and Mr McKillen -- whose €2.1bn portfolio the agency described as a "systemic risk" to the Irish financial system -- may find themselves back at the drawing board.

Mr McKillen's London investments include a large stake in Maybourne Hotel Group, the company that owns the five-star Claridge's, Connaught and Berkeley hotels and which had resisted transfer to NAMA.

The loans of the Maybourne Group were taken over by NAMA last year.

He also co-owns a number of Northern-registered property firms, including Belfast Office Properties and Finbrook Investments and he is believed to own prestigious property in Paris, as well as a share in the Covent Garden complex, which houses the Royal Opera House in London.

Mr McKillen shuns the limelight, but two years ago a high-profile legal action with his long-time friend and co-investor, solicitor Ivor Fitzpatrick, attracted unwelcome publicity.

The row, which was ultimately settled, related to the conduct of the affairs of Canton Casey, a major property development holding company that had interests in distribution agencies and in quarries in south east Asia.

Irish Independent

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