Wednesday 13 December 2017

Flush Rohan looking to build some posh homes

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Property magnate Ken Rohan is looking at building houses again, he told me last week.

Rohan Holdings, one of the biggest commercial and industrial property companies in the State, is flush with cash and is looking to a joint venture with a builder to tap into rising markets by constructing some posh homes. "Not first-time buyer houses," Rohan suggested.

The business, which escaped the worst of the downturn by paying down most of its debt before markets tanked, is beginning to really flex its muscles again. It was the under bidder on the €40m Burlington Road site bought by Johnny Ronan last week, and was also in the shake-up for a site opposite its landmark Grand Canal Plaza office block.

That building is undergoing a major refurbishment, Rohan added.

Over coffee in his office tucked away in Harcourt Street in Dublin, Rohan told me that he wasn't worried at all about a bubble emerging in the property market.

The industrial sector, he said, is limping along and a real shortage of commercial property in Dublin City centre is going to cause some crazy deals next year, with really inflated site purchases. He also feels that residential property in prime areas has plenty to go, based on price per square foot.

Rohan was once a listed company back in the 1970s. Within months of the company floating, the Middle East blew up, causing banks to call in loans. Rohan survived. Just. It was a lesson he never forgot.

Will the developers coming out of the downturn have absorbed the same lesson?

Sunday Indo Business

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