Lavish hotel pad a steal at €2.2m
A sumptuous penthouse apartment at Dublin's five-star Merrion Hotel seized by Nama from the Swiss-based property investor Derek Quinlan has been snapped up for over €2.2m by one of the hotel's owners, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
Documents filed at the Property Registration Authority show that billionaire businessman Martin Naughton completed his purchase of the Merrion Hotel apartment on June 3 last, weeks after Nama assumed ownership of it.
Mr Naughton acquired the 2,500 sq ft property before Nama-appointed receiver Paul McDowell of Knight Frank placed it for sale on the open market. But while the estimated €2.2m that sources say the Glen Dimplex founder paid for the Quinlan apartment is substantial, it still falls short of the €3.17m a similar penthouse at the Merrion went for in 2001.
Mr Naughton's purchase of the former Quinlan penthouse represents just the latest example of his personal financial support for the Merrion, coming as it does just over 18 months after he and fellow director Lochlann Quinn provided a 'letter of comfort' to the hotel to shore up its future in the face of falling revenues.
"The directors have, since the year end , provided a letter of comfort confirming their support and that sufficient cash will be made available," a note to the Merrion Hotel's latest available accounts state. Elsewhere in the same accounts, it is revealed that the Merrion's turnover slumped from €16.8m in 2008 to €13.3m in 2009.
On a more positive note for the Merrion, Nama's sale of Derek Quinlan's apartment to Mr Naughton -- whose personal worth Forbes magazine recently estimated to be €1.3bn -- effectively removes the agency from having any association with it or the privately owned apartment residences it contains.
Meanwhile, six other Dublin properties formerly owned by Mr Quinlan are currently up for sale through their Nama-appointed receiver, Knight Frank.
Located in Dublin's choicest area codes, the properties include a 4,400 sq ft house at 1, Elgin Road, which Mr Quinlan once used as his private office. The house is being offered for sale through Lisneys for €2.95m.
Also on the block are a 3,800 sq ft house at 43 Ailesbury Road and a 2,000 sq ft house at nearby Ailesbury Wood. Together, the two properties are on the market for a total of €3.75m.
Over in Rathmines, three 1,000 sq ft mews buildings located to the rear of the upmarket Grosvenor Square are up for sale for €400,000 apiece.
Knight Frank expects to bring seven other properties, for which it was appointed as receiver, to the market by the end of this year.