Kilternan Hotel sold at 96% discount to Comer Group

Completion of project expected to cost €20m on top of €7m purchase price

Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 10:24

The partially built Kilternan Hotel & Country Club in south Dublin is to be completed and operated by the Comer Group after being acquired at a knockdown price. The new owners are believed to have paid about €7 million for the complex on which €171.5 million from Irish Nationwide was spent before the collapse of the property market.

The 96 per cent writedown in value is easily the largest recorded for a substantial investment since the property and banking crisis began.

Marcus Magnier of agents Colliers International, who handled the sale, said yesterday the general consensus among investors who viewed the unfinished buildings was that it would take an additional €20 million to complete the project.

Although Kilternan and two other property-related companies controlled by the late Hugh O’Regan collapsed back in August 2009, with overall borrowings of €198.5 million, the sale of the country club was put on the long finger because of fears that a catastrophic fall in value such as the one now to be recorded would have a knock-on effect on the sale of hundred of other distressed property assets. This is no longer a concern given the remarkable recovery in property values and the ever increasing competition between Irish and overseas funds for the larger number of investments being offered for sale.

David Hughes of Ernst & Young has been acting as receiver and manager of Kilternan which also includes 300 acres including a former golf course.

Although Comer operates a successful golf course at its Palmerstown House Estate near the Dublin/Kildare border, it is though unlikely it will resurrect the Kilternan course because of its proximity to several courses including Dún Laoghaire, Powerscourt, Woodbrook, Old Conna and Glen of the Downs.

About half of the €20 million likely to be spent on the buildings will be used to complete a 78-bedroom aparthotel. Substantial funds will also have to spent on the completion of the 128-bedroom hotel.

The 16,435sq m (176,903sq ft) development also includes a spa, banqueting hall, lounge and service facilities above three floors of hotel public facilities.

There is a particularly large health centre with a floor area of 6,957sq m (74,883sq ft) over three levels built around a four-court indoor tennis centre.