Bellinter House, the Co Meath hotel owned by Jay Bourke and John Reynolds, is set to be acquired by Irish businessman Barry O'Sullivan and a small group of private investors for about €3 million. The cash deal is expected to close this week after Mr O'Sullivan and his US-based backers were granted exclusivity some weeks ago. The acquisition is being made through a vehicle called Broadreach Investments, which is controlled by Mr O'Sullivan and was incorporated in January.
This would be the latest chapter in the chequered history of the 34-bedroom property, which opened a decade ago as an upmarket boutique hotel.
Bellinter House Ltd, the original operating company for the hotel, went into liquidation in 2010. It was the subject of a court battle last year between its owners and Cora Dwyer, who was operating the property under a lease agreement. In recent months, it has been operated by Firebreak Hospitality Management.
It is understood that Mr O’Sullivan plans to invest a significant sum to refresh the hotel and that all deposits and vouchers for the propertywill be honoured. He is thought to want to pitch it at the 30-somethings market while also restoring its “hipster” vibe. There will be a focus on weddings and groups effectively renting the entire property for a number of days for business or social occasions.
A former banker, Mr O'Sullivan has no direct background in the hotel trade. He is a shareholder in Dalkey Furnitureworks Ltd and a director of Power Capital, a renewable energy group. He was a partner with Dermot Desmond's QED Equity until 2013, and an early backer of Iconic Offices, now the biggest services office provider in the State.
Near Navan, Bellinter Country House was designed in 1750 by the leading Irish architect of the day, Richard Castle, as a country seat for wealthy landowner John Preston.
In 1965, the house and 12 acres were bought by the Sisters of Sion and it was run as a retreat. In 2003, it was bought by Mr Bourke and Mr Reynolds for €2.3 million and they undertook a major refurbishment of the Palladian-style Georgian property. It opened in late 2006 after a reported €16 million-plus refurbishment.The hotel incorporates a spa and can cater for weddings for up to 200 guests. The venue was originally backed with loans from Bank of Scotland.