Urbeo sees opportunities in Covid to expand property activities

Investment group to expand beyond private residential sector as former NewERA head joins its board

Urbeo, the Irish residential investment platform backed by Starwood Capital Group and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, is looking to take advantage of the market disruption caused by Covid-19 to expand its interests to include other property sectors.

Having spent more than €500 million on the acquisition of a portfolio of 1,500 rental apartments in its first year, Urbeo says it is examining the likely changes to the way people will live and work even after the pandemic has ended with a view to broadening its activities.

The move comes as Eileen Fitzpatrick, former head of NewERA at the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), joins chairman Kevin Murphy, a former chief executive of Irish Life & Permanent, on the board of Urbeo as a non-executive director.

In her role with the NTMA, Ms Fitzpatrick provided investment and commercial advice between 2011 and 2019 on State-owned companies to the Government.


Prior to that she worked as chief executive at AIB Investment Managers between 2000 and 2006, and has held senior roles at stockbrokers Goodbody and NCB. Her other non-executive director roles include with Bank of Ireland and KKR Ireland.

Commenting on the appointment, Urbeo's founding partner Frank Kenny said: "We are very pleased to have someone with Eileen's extensive investment and capital markets experience join the board of Urbeo Group.

“We are at an exciting moment in the group’s development where having built a large residential portfolio, we are now considering leveraging our skilled team’s capabilities to invest in other market segments.”


According to Urbeo partner Richard Ball, its strategy has been to create a €1 billion portfolio of build-to-rent assets.

“We have made great progress in this regard and will continue to acquire assets to grow to over 2,000 units,” he said.

“We are now looking to expand into new areas, and believe that the likely changes in the way we live and work in the aftermath of the pandemic could yield interesting opportunities. Whilst Covid-19 has caused disruption and uncertainty we remain optimistic that there are significant investment opportunities for Urbeo to avail of in Ireland.”

Urbeo’s residential rental portfolio comprises a number of sites in Dublin, including Citywest, Hansfield, Finglas, Tallaght, Rathborne Village and two projects in Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Property Editor of The Irish Times