O’Brien company makes a meal of rent request from one of its tenants
Rue Saint-Denis is one of the best-known streets in Paris. Perhaps Dublin City Council should consider a similar name for the strip running alongside the Grand Canal where Denis O’Brien has his corporate headquarters? He must own enough of it at this stage to warrant putting his name on the street signs.
I hear O’Brien has snapped up the Malting Tower, a former Treasury Holdings building sold off to pay some of its debts. Not only that, but he has been laying down the law to its tenants.
The Malting Tower is just a few yards from One Grand Canal Quay, the sprawling headquarters of Communicorp and the registered address of a clatter of O’Brien’s companies.
The ground floor of the historic Malting Tower is home to Bridge Bar & Bistro, a busy, upmarket joint run by Martina Fox, wife of the former Renards nightclub owner Robbie. They took over the restaurant in 2011 on a 20-year lease from Treasury.
Menorah Developments, the building’s new landlord, issued debt proceedings during the week against Gladoli, the restaurant’s operating company. It appears to be a rent dispute gone hardball.
Menorah’s two directors are David Sykes, a former stockbroker who is one of O’Brien’s closest advisers, and John Ryall, another long-time associate of the billionaire. Its sole shareholder is Bay- cliffe, an Isle of Man investment company ultimately controlled by O’Brien.
Things went downhill . . .
I’m told the restaurant sought a deal on the rent, but got no joy from Menorah. Instead, it got a love letter from William Fry solicitors. Things went downhill after that. The law firm filed the action on Monday on behalf of O’Brien’s company. It has yet to be listed for hearing.
O’Brien was known to make the odd visit to Renards back in the day, when it was one of the top clubs in town. Bridge is also a popular hangout for well-to-do business types: PJ Mara, one of O’Brien’s lieutenants, has been spotted there on numerous occasions.
But it appears business is business as far as O’Brien is concerned.