Sunday 8 December 2019

Secret millionaire Sadek sells island for a knockdown price

Dave Kenny

ONE secret millionaire steps out, another secret millionaire steps in. A mystery buyer has been found for the island of Inish Turk Beg in Clew Bay.

The 65-acre hideaway off Co Mayo was put up for sale last summer by its owner, RTE reality show star Nadim Sadek. He had spent €9m transforming the island into a world-class luxury destination where an overnight stay could cost up to €9,000.

The asking price was €2.85m. It is believed, however, that the property may have fallen shy of that mark.

The deal was struck on December 9 and contracts are expected to change hands in the near future. The sale is being conducted by Knight Frank and Sherry FitzGerald, in association with Christie's International Real Estate.

Negotiator Robert Ganly said: "We have agreed a sale, but it's not sold yet. Contracts have not changed hands."

Last week, Daft.ie property website listed the island as "This Property Has Been Sold".

Mr Ganly refused to comment on details of the deal or the identity of the buyer, but did say there had been "a lot of interest from abroad".

Clew Bay has been attracting millionaires since John Lennon bought Dorinish island in 1968. Island Records founder Chris Blackwell has a bolthole in the bay, and Mayo man Louis Walsh is rumoured to own property in the area.

Walsh's protege, Ronan Keating, once had his eye on Inish Turk Beg, but in 2003 Mr Sadek outbid the Boyzone singer to buy it for €1m.

Bono and Bill Gates have also been linked to the island. The U2 frontman and the Microsoft chief were reported to have been sighted taking a boat over several years ago.

"Whatever about that rumour – and it's not that outlandish considering Sadek's connections – the new owner is not in the rock star category," a source told the Sunday Independent.

"The buyers are believed to be a low-key couple with extremely deep pockets. They will need them. The selling price alone was steep enough, but the cost of maintaining the island would be prohibitive for most ordinary people.

"There are five state-of-the-art buildings on Inish Turk Beg. With the changeable climate there, they would need constant upkeep."

The stylish houses were designed by London architects Andrew Wright Associates and can sleep 25 in total.

"There is also a farm with cattle, sheep, horses and orchards to run – if they decide to keep it.

"It's not clear what the new owners will do with the island, but the infrastructure is there to either use it as an exclusive guest destination or a serious holiday home."

The property is being managed by Mr Sadek's classmate from St Columba's College, Dublin, Johnny Dalgety, and his wife Mandy. It's not known if they will continue to live on the island as caretakers.

Nadim and Sandra Sadek moved back to London last summer with their four children.

The Irish-Egyptian businessman made his fortune from "qualitative" market research and the 2003 sale of his internationally top-ranked firm, Sadek Wynberg.

In 2011 he posed as a journalist in deprived areas of Cork for RTE's Secret Millionaire. While he was writing cheques for €40,000 on-screen he was also fighting to save his island. "It must have been a pretty rough time for him then, dealing with that while filming the programme," a former business associate said.

"He built the island up from scratch, laying power lines across Clew Bay and shipping in concrete on barges to build new foundations and roads.

"It's a stunning place with the best of everything. It even has an infinity swimming pool with views of Croagh Patrick.

"There is an indoor leisure complex with a gym area, games room, cinema, ceili hall and a hot tub. There's even all-weather tennis and a basketball court, and a decent landing spot for a helicopter."

Mr Sadek is now listed as partner and chief executive at brand consultancy firm TransgressiveX. He is also managing the career of his singer-songwriter daughter, Shaefri.

Sunday Independent

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