McKillen Jr becomes a major force in city's economic life

From developing offices, hotels and housing to operating a vast, and growing, array of bars and restaurants, there’s little question that developer Paddy McKillen Jr has become a major force in Dublin’s economic and social life.

Anyone visiting the city would find it hard to traverse its streets without encountering a venue or development delivered over recent years by the son of the Belfast-born businessman, Paddy McKillen.

As 2019 gets under way, McKillen Jr and his business partner, Matt Ryan’s hospitality group, Press Up Entertainment, has over 40 businesses and employs around 1,500 in Ireland.

The Dean hotel, Devlin Dublin Hotel, Workman’s Club, the Liquor Rooms, Angelina’s, Dollard & Co, Roberta’s, Tomahawk Steakhouse, Union Cafe, and the Stella Theatre in Rathmines represent just a small selection of the venues within the Press Up stable.

This year, the group’s interests are set for a potentially significant expansion as Mr McKillen Jr looks to establish The Dean as a hotel brand across Europe. Press Up Entertainment engaged the services of real estate advisers JLL to seek out opportunities in London, Paris, Berlin, Milan and Amsterdam. The company is also considering locating Dean hotels in other European cities on a case-by-case basis.

Back in Dublin, Press Up’s reach and profile is set to increase further with the expected opening later this year of the Mayson Hotel, next to the Central Bank’s new headquarters and Ballymore’s one-million square foot Dublin Landings office and apartment scheme in the Docklands.

The company is also lined up to operate both the hotel and rooftop restaurant being planned for the heavily-anticipated redevelopment of the former Clerys department store on O’Connell Street.

Acquired last October by international investor Europa Capital for €63m, the property is set to transformed into a major mixed-use scheme comprising offices, retail units and leisure facilities. Europa Capital – part of the New York-based Rockefeller Group – is working with local partners Core Capital and Paddy McKillen Jr’s development company, Oakmount, to deliver the project.

Outside of its involvement in the Clerys’ scheme, Oakmount’s resources are committed to commercial and residential property schemes in the capital, Cork and Galway.

The company is currently in the final stages of delivering the Lennox Building, a four-storey over lower-ground floor office block at the corner of South Richmond Street and Lennox Street in Dublin 2.

The sale of the property, which has already been pre-let in its entirety to flexible workspace provider Iconic Offices and to McKillen’s Press Up Entertainment, was recently agreed for a figure in the region of €25.5m.

In nearby up-and-coming Dublin 8, Oakmount is also understood to have sourced a buyer for its 55 Fumbally project for a sum in excess of its €10m guide price. The scheme’s design includes 34 apartments, a restaurant and 24,000 square feet of offices in a stone-cut listed building.

Also in Dublin 8, Oakmount is working on the delivery of 61/62 Thomas Street, a mixed-use project incorporating a 4,000 square foot bar and restaurant at ground floor level, with 20,000 sq ft of offices overhead.

Elsewhere in the city, Oakmount will be tasked with directing the renovation and extension of the iconic former headquarters of New Ireland Assurance on Dawson Street.

As reported by the Irish Independent earlier this week, Mr McKillen Jr’s company, Goldwing Real Estate Ventures Ltd, has sought permission from Dublin City Council to add two setback floors to the building.

Should the proposal be approved, the property’s 6,731 sq m (72,452 sq ft) floor area would increase to 9,207 sq m (99,103 sq ft).

While the plan envisages the bulk of the premises continuing to operate as offices, it also seeks a change of use for the ground floor to restaurant.

Mr McKillen Jr’s Press Up Entertainment Group acquired the Dawson Street property for €38m last June.

In terms of funding, the developer is backed by a number of financial institutions and funders including AIB and London-headquartered real estate specialist lender GreenOak, and is partnering with Derek McGrath’s Core Capital on several projects including the Clerys’ Quarter, the former New Ireland Assurance HQ on Dawson Street, and the Lennox Building.

Mr McKillen Jr and Mr Ryan’s Oakmount is set to become a significant player in Dublin’s residential property market.

The company owns and controls two sites in the sought-after suburbs of Mount Merrion and Blackrock in South Dublin. Taken together, the lands have the capacity to accommodate a total of 450 apartments.

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