Sale of Elysian set to surpass €100m

Ireland’s tallest building, the Elysian Tower in Cork city, is expected to fetch more than €100m when it goes on sale in the coming weeks, writes Pádraig Hoare.

It is understood the US private equity firm Blackstone Capital will instruct Savills and Lisney to sell the 87-metre tall building at Eglinton Street.

Blackstone declined to comment on the proposed sale, which was first reported in the Sunday Business Post, but it is believed the firm will look for more than €100m, with one source saying there was no guide price as yet, but that the building was “clearly worth over three figures”.

The Elysian opened to huge fanfare in 2008 but suffered when the financial crash shook the world’s economy.

The Lehman Brothers bank collapsing in the US in September 2008 exacerbated a market slowdown on the Irish housing front and coincided with the Elysian’s unveiling.

The €150 million building opened just days after the collapse of the bank, which set in motion the worst financial crisis since the 1929 Wall Street Crash.

It was built by O’Flynn Construction, headed by Cork native and one of Ireland’s best-known developers Michael O’Flynn.

Acrimonious dispute

He became involved in an acrimonious battle with Blackstone, which sought to gain control of his business in the years following the financial crash.

That dispute was eventually settled.

Design at the Elysian is by Wilson Architecture, and construction on the three acre site was by PJ Hegartys. Previously the site had been a postal sorting office and before that was a railway station.

The architects based it on the width of Patrick Street, and the length from Patrick’s Bridge to Winthrop Street.

Mr O’Flynn regained control of the O’Flynn Construction Group’s development assets following the deal struck with Blackstone, which took over his group’s loans from the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) in 2014.

Blackstone took control of investment assets such as the Elysian as part of the deal.

The deal saw Mr O’Flynn fully complete the building, and it is still under the management of a company owned by the O’Flynn Group.

It is now fully let and has some of the highest rents in Cork for its luxury apartments. There are more than 200 apartments in all.

In May this year, it was announced that US-based IT semi-conductor and wireless communications firm Skyworks Ireland had moved into the ground floor.

Existing tenants include Aldi, medical scan company Affidea — previously occupied by EuroMedic — and El Vino restaurant.

Next door on Port Lane, One Albert Quay’s tenants include Johnson Controls, PWC, Arup and a Starbucks.

Mr O’Flynn is a former Farranferris and Cork Institute of Technology student who set up O’Flynn Construction Holdings in 1978 with his brother John.

He is the developer behind the multimillion euro Ballincollig Town Centre.

Prospective buyers for the Elysian could include major Irish property real estate investment trusts (Reit) such as Hibernia, while there may also be interest from abroad.

This month, it was announced that the Capitol development in Cork city centre — which was developed by John Cleary Developments (JCD) and was completed in July — had been bought by German Reit, Real IS for €45m.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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