Bernard McNamara’s 500-bedroom hotel has been under the control of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) since February 2012 when Paul McCann of Grant Thornton was appointed as receiver. Bernard bought the hotel along with the adjacent site for €288m at the height of the boom in 2007. The 4-star hotel in Ballsbridge – its website is here – is understood to be trading “satisfactorily” with sources claiming the latest pre tax profits are in the region of €5m. Sources say the hotel is about to be put on the market in September 2012 with property powerhouse CBRE handling the sale. The asking price is understood to be in the €55-60m range, representing a staggering 81% discount on the 2007 price. There had been rumours of an impending sale last summer, with the previous owners the Doyle group touted as prospective buyers. The prices bandied about last summer were in the €44-50m range. Neither CBRE nor Grant Thornton had any comment on the matter today.
As recently revealed on here, at least one sixth of the hotel rooms in the State are under bank control, with over half of these under the control of NAMA and NAMA banks. NAMA has said that its strategy is to “hold” hotels until the second half of this decade, though the Agency is keen to claim that it is not financially supporting “unsustainable” hotels – competitors still suspect that NAMA is nursing loss-making hotels in the hope that any recovery in hotel prices will offset current losses. It seems however that the non-NAMA banks, including Ulster Bank and BoS(I) may adopt an earlier disposal strategy.
Last year, the Four Seasons Hotel in Ballsbridge which was owned by Derek Quinlan’s Nollaig Partnership was sold for €15m, about half the apparent asking price. Earlier this year, “Russia’s richest woman” Elena Baturina bought Hugh O’Regan’s Dublin city centre Morrison Hotel for €20-25m. Bernard McNamara’s 145-bedroom Cork International Hotel went on the market through Savills in June 2012 with an asking price of €4.75m. As exclusively reported on here, NAMA has recently sold one of Bernard’s landmark office buildings, the Bank of Ireland branch on the corner of St Stephen’s Green and Merrion Row for €7.5m.
UPDATE: 29th August, 2012. Though a higher guide price is mentioned – between €65m and €75m – the Irish Independent today confirms the hotel is coming onto the market through CBRE, which incidentally didn’t know it had received the instruction when contacted by this website at the start of August 2012!
UPDATE: 5th September, 2012. Jack Fagan today reports that another of McNamara’s hotels, the Parknasilla in Sneem in Kerry has come on the market through Savills with a price tage of just €10m compared with its purchase price of €40m and a subsequent refurbishment said to have cost over €10m.
UPDATE (1): 6th November 2012. Despite the speculation in the Sunday Times last weekend, it seems that it is Blackstone which has won the bidding for the Burlington Hotel which had a guide price in the €65-75m range. Blackstone has been asked for a comment. The price has not yet been ascertained but is understood to be approximately €70m. Blackstone is the company whose CEO and co-founder Steve Schwarzman in December 2010 that you “want to wait until there’s really blood on the streets” before investing in Europe and adding “we’re basically waiting to see how beaten up people’s psyches get, and where they’re willing to sell assets”
UPDATE (2): 6th November 2012. Sources are this evening claiming that the purchase price was €67.5m. No comment yet from Blackstone.