Thursday 5 December 2019

Monopoly mansions changing owners

Who are the post-crash winners buying trophy homes on Shrewsbury and Ailesbury Roads?

Tom McFeely's former house. It has since been sold
Tom McFeely's former house. It has since been sold
Garry Burke
Sean Dunne
The fomer HQ of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, bought by Seamus Fitzpatrick in 2012
Derek Quinlan
Bernard McNamara's former house, since bought by the family of JP McManus
Clonmore, the former home of builder Paddy Kelly
JP MCManus
The former family home of Sean Dunne and Gayle Killilea

Few things epitomise the relentless roll of capitalism more than the changing residents of Shrewsbury Road and Ailesbury Road, Dublin's two most expensive residential streets.

Over the last decade, the roads have seen unprecedented upheaval as the economy recovers. The trophy homes market may serve as a barometer for business, showing which sectors are performing strongly and generating new fortunes.

Property developers and speculators moved into the roads en masse during the boom years, with the Bernard McNamara, Sean Dunne, Derek Quinlan, Paddy Kelly, Tom McFeely and Larry O'Mahony all arriving with delivery vans full of velvety furniture and gold taps.

The problems of their debt swamped businesses contributed to their exits. Nama has also learnt on debt-laden developers to sell their supermansions and trade them in for something less ostentatious.

Since 2010, there have been 16 sales on Ailesbury Road and nine on Shrewsbury Road. There are almost 100 homes on Ailesbury Road and just 23 numbered houses on or off Shrewsbury Road. Close to 40pc of the numbered houses on Shrewsbury road have changed hands in just four years and almost 20pc of the homes on Ailesbury Road. That's a lot of new faces on the other side of the garden fence.

While property developers and those who invested heavily in property have largely moved on, they have been replaced by entrepreneurs and deal-makers from other, diverse sectors, including aviation finance, food, hospitality and specialist manufacturing.

Curiously, Ailesbury Road and Shrewsbury Road haven't been swamped by scruffy new technology millionaires. Cavan private equity player Seamus Fitzpatrick spent around €8m buying the headquarters of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland in 2012, turning it into a mega home.

Fitzpatrick's Capvest has raised over €3bn from investors since 1999 and has been involved in a number of high profile buyouts including the €350m deal of the Mater Private and the €200m creation of Irish food group Valeo. It doubled its money on the €750m takeover of Findus in 2006.

Former aviation leasing executive Garry Burke of Pembroke bought one of Derek Quinlan's homes on Shrewsbury Road for about €7m in 2011. Burke is now global head of structured finance with Standard Chartered. Car service tycoon John McKillen of Atlas Auto Service lives at another Ailesbury Road residence, which was purchased by Derek Quinlan for €8.5m in 2007. It sold again for €5.3m in November 2013.

Kylemore Service Group boss Brian Hogan, lives in an Ailesbury Road house that was acquired for €2.35m in late 2011, according to his company filings. Kylemore is now one of the biggest catering service providers in the country, with sales close to €40m in 2012.

Temple Bar publican Tom Cleary lives in an Ailesbury Road house that was purchased for €4.75m in October 2013.

London-centred PR man Rory Godson bought the Ailesbury Road home of bankrupt developer Tom McFeely in 2012.

The family of JP McManus, one of the country's richest financiers, bought Bernard McNamara's home on Ailesbury Road for about €10m in 2012. This was the home with the infamous sliding ballroom floor that covered the indoor swimming pool. The McManus family also bought a mews house nearby.

Sean Dunne's Shrewsbury Road palazzo Ouragh is now rented out to the South African Embassy. Last week Bank of Scotland sought in a US court to seize the $10m-valued house.

Longer term residents of the two roads include Paul Anderson of the Omniplex Cinema Group, one of the biggest owners of movie theatres in the country. Banana-selling Fyffes executive chairman David McCann is a Shrewsbury Road resident, along with Gemma and Michael Maughan, who own the Gowan group, which distributes Peugeot in Ireland.

David Doyle, one of the heirs of the Doyle hotel fortune and a director of TVC Holdings bought Barlo chief Tony Mullins' home in 2002 for around €11m. Industrialist Paul Coulson, of 2bn valued glass bottler Ardagh, put his Shrewbury Road home on the market with a price tag of €22m in 2006. It didn't sell.

Telecoms and media owner Denis O'Brien also owns property nearby as does billionaire Dermot Desmond. Green Property REIT head Pat Gunne dropped €13m on the former home of Fine Gael minister John Kelly back in 2006.

Company filings give aviation tycoon Domhnall Slattery's residence as a grand house on Ailesbury Road. Slattery's Avolon is limbering up for a stockmarket flotation later this year, having last week inked a deal to €1.1bn worth of Dreamliner jets from Boeing.

Martin Naughton's industrial and heating behemoth Glen Dimplex has occupied a splendid wood-panelled house on Ailesbury road, which it has used as corporate offices for a number of years.

Michael Smurfit Jr, an heir to the vast Smurfit packaging fortune, lives on Ailesbury Road, with his in-laws the Muldowneys around the corner on Shrewsbury Road.

Specialist construction firm owner Frederick Trenaman of APA Systems is also a Shrewsbury Road resident - his company has provided aluminium facades for some of the biggest buildings in the UK. The Trenaman family are also connected to the Dunne's Stores McMahon family by marriage. Dunnes' Sharon McMahon is another Ailesbury roader.

Derek Quinlan has been the biggest single seller of properties on Ailesbury Road and Shrewsbury Road since his empire disintegrated. He sold numbers 1 and 3 Shrewsbury Road for about €7m, less than nine years after buying the two properties for a combined €27m. He also sold Derrymore on Shrewsbury Road for about €7m in 2011. Two properties that he owned on Ailesbury Road were also sold on the instructions of Nama in 2011 for about €2.5m. The properties had been bought for a combined €11.5m during the boom.

Prices are well down on the peak, when Walford on Shrewsbury Road was bought for €58m in 2005. It sold again for €14m last year with Sean Dunne's wife Gayle a beneficiary of the deal via Cypriot-registered company called Yesreb Holding Ltd. Solicitor and Square shopping centre developer Noel Smyth sold his house at 14 Ailesbury road in 2011 for €3.65m. It had previously been on the market in 2008, with a guide price of €12.5m.

Developer Paddy Kelly bought Shrewsbury Road mansion Clancool for "several hundred thousand punts" in the early 1990s. He built another house Clonmore in its grounds. The property crash of the early 1990s saw him sell Clancool to pacify his banks, allowing him to hang onto Clonmore. He was less successful in his second crash.

The legal eagles have also been leaving as they get offered big money for homes. Former AIB chairman and barrister Dermot Gleeson sold his Shrewsbury Road home for about €5m in 2011. Former Arthur Cox managing partner Eugene McCague also offloaded his house at 38 Ailesbury Road to the Chinese state. The Chinese now own four houses on Ailesbury Road. A sign of things to come.

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