The sale of 16-18 Lower Pembroke Street in central Dublin for “about €3m” was reported in the Sunday Business Post and by Jack Fagan in the Irish Times in March 2013. This blogpost just adds some more detail. The buyer of the property, which was originally earmarked for office/residential development, but which is now set to become a new hotel, is a company called Plaza on the Square Limited. The directors of this company are Conor O’Donnell who gives his address as Ively Road in Clapham from where he also runs his consulting company, COD Consulting Limited. The other director is Brian Clingen from Boca Grande in Florida but whose businesses appear anchored in Illinois. 52-year old Brian T Clingen confirms in company filings that he is the manager of a range of Illinois businesses including BP Capital Management LLC, American Access Group LLC, Lonestar Finance and Leasing LLC, MTH Enterprise Holdings LLC, MTH Enterprises LLC, Northwest Partners LLC, Northwest Indiana Properties LLC, Oak Lawn Partners LLC, Service Holdings LLC, Transport and Towing Holdings LLC, Transport Holdings LLC, National Transport LLC, CF3 Holdings LLC, DB Partners LLC and he is a director of KAR Holdings II LLC, KAR Auction Services Inc, Automotive Finance Corporation and AFC Funding Corporation. Forbes.com shows his 2009 remuneration from one company, KAR Auction Services Inc at $2m (€1.6m).
Plaza on the Square Limited has a registered address at 19 Raglan Hall, Clyde Road in Ballsbridge, an apartment that GVA were offering for sale at €400,000. This is a different apartment in the same block.
The €3m purchase price of the run-down block is a far cry from its price tag when last sold for €26m in 2006 when Gerry Deane and Paddy Fitzgerald of the Pembroke Partnership bought it from the Commissioners for Irish Lights.
The new owners are reported to be planning to refurbish the building and convert it into a boutique hotel, which might have up to 120 rooms. Existing planning permission appears to allow a hotel development in place of the originally-planned office/residential project.
Brian Clingen spoke with RTE’s George Lee last September 2012 about investing in Ireland, and he appears to be one of an army of foreign investors seeking out opportunities in Ireland at present.