[30 second version – CoStar, the UK commercial property portal, has this afternoon reported that NAMA has sold the €85m face-value mezzanine loan which had been advanced to Treasury Holdings’ Opera fund which in turn controls Merchants Quay shopping centre in Cork, an office block on Mespil Road in Dublin, Stillorgan shopping centre, South Bank House and “The Warehouse” buildings, both on Barrow Street. The buyer is US investor, Northwood. The purchase price is not disclosed but said to be “in single digits in the euro” and the purchase may place Northwood in a commanding position with respect to the control of the property portfolio]
The outworking of Treasury Holdings property dealings continues apace, with exclusive news today from James Wallace at the UK’s commercial property portal, CoStar, that NAMA has sold €85m of face-value loans associated with the Opera fund, to US investor Northwood.
We learned yesterday that liquidators were appointed to Real Estates Opportunities PLC, the Channel Islands-based property group in which Treasury Holdings – founded by the formerly-dynamic duo of Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett – has a controlling interest. REO in turn manages the Opera property fund, a collection of 16 Irish properties including the Merchants Quay shopping centre in Cork and the Stillorgan shopping centre in Dublin. The fund is believed to have €375m of loans in addition to the €85m of junior loans controlled by NAMA.
The buyer is US investor, Northwood Investors which has in the past been sniffing around loans owed by Paddy McKillen’s Maybourne group of the three London hotels. Northwood was founded in 2006 by John Kukral, the former boss of real estate at our new bessie friends in Ireland, Blackstone, which has recently bought the Burlington hotel. The sale price has not been disclosed but is understood to be around €5m or as CoStar say “in single digits in the euro”
CoStar speculate that the purchase of the junior loans from NAMA may be a stepping stone to greater control of the underlying property portfolio because of the consents required from the holder of the loans before anything is done with the underlying assets. Whether this has any foundation or not remains to be seen – none of the parties are providing comment – but it does have echoes of the moves at Noel Smyth’s UK property fund, Alburn Real Estate Capital where a mysterious company bought the loans of that group and acquired significant control.