Derek Quinlan an adviser on €8m deal for former motor tax office

A redeveloped River House at Chancery Street could interest UK legal firms


Derek Quinlan, one of the most prolific property financiers in the boom, is active again in Dublin’s real estate market.

He recently advised an unnamed purchaser on the acquisition of an unoccupied office building – the former motor tax office – at the rear of the Four Courts.

Mr Quinlan, who has been living outside the country since the property crash – first in Switzerland and then in London – was in Dublin before Christmas when the 1970s block on Chancery Street was bought for €8 million. “My involvement was solely advisory, aiding the negotiation of the deal,” he told The Irish Times. “I hold no beneficial interest and won’t be involved in the future development.”

Mr Quinlan (68), once among Anglo Irish Bank’s biggest clients, is one of a number of property investors whose loans are still held by the National Asset Management Agency. At the height of the crisis the indebtedness of Mr Quinlan and his consortium members was of the order of €5 billion.

After working as a tax inspector with the Revenue Commissioners, he set up Quinlan Private in 1989 to provide financial advice to wealthy investors. His first deal involved an investment of €5 million in The Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght. Twenty-seven years later, Nama is expected to make arrangements in an unrelated move to put much of the shopping complex back on the market.

The six-storey River House at Chancery Street has been vacant since the motor taxation service moved out about a decade ago. It has been owned for the past 15 years by developers Joe and Patrick Linders who are best known for their involvement in the revival of the Smithfield area of Dublin. They recently renewed a planning permission to redevelop River House and double its capacity to around 6,967sq m (75,000sq ft).

Office agents expect that the new block will be of particular interest to UK legal firms planning to relocate to Dublin as a result of Brexit. The decision by the Linders group to offload River House is not surprising given that it recently secured planning permission to develop more than 300,000sq ft of new office space in two developments at the Haymarket and the former Irish Distillers site at Smithfield.

The Linders of Smithfield group, which operates a number of car dealerships and the C&F Quadrant white goods sales company, has already developed and successfully leased a number of office buildings at Smithfield as well as in the area around Busáras.