Michael O’Flynn gets €5m to finish Elysian scheme in Cork

Developer secures funds from Blackstone to fit out 137 apartments

Michael O’Flynn: Blackstone has given property developer €5 million to fit out 137 apartments in the Elysian tower in Cork city. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Michael O’Flynn: Blackstone has given property developer €5 million to fit out 137 apartments in the Elysian tower in Cork city. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

 

It was once a symbol of the Celtic Tiger boom but the Elysian tower in Cork city could now be a emblem for the recovery following an agreement between Cork property developer Michael O’Flynn and US investment group Blackstone for the completion of apartments there.

The Irish Times has learned that Blackstone has given Mr O’Flynn €5 million to fit out 137 apartments, which would then be made available to the market for rent.

The 17-storey Elysian is the tallest residential tower in the Republic and was completed by Mr O’Flynn in 2008 at a cost of more than €100 million, around the same time as the global financial crash.

The first phase of work under this latest plan will involve 60 units being fitted out and fully let by May. The second phase will see 77 units being completed and let by October.

Some 74 of the 217 units are currently rented, with the balance having been sold. Two- bedroom apartments are currently being advertised for rent at €1,600 a month.

In his testimony to the Oireachtas banking inquiry last year, Mr O’Flynn said the National Asset Management Agency had “refused to allow a fit-out of the Elysian”.

“Had that happened, it would have been occupied immediately,” he told the committee. “We subsequently had some units fitted out but had all the units been fitted out day one, every apartment would have been occupied. It will recover in time. It will take some time unfortunately, but it’s a development that Cork can be proud of and that will always work in Cork.

“It should have been let immediately. One year’s rent would have fitted out each unit and it’s now idle . . . some of it is idle about four years. All I can tell you is that the Elysian will stand the test of time.”

Loans associated with Mr O’Flynn’s construction businesses were transferred to Nama after the crash and then sold by the State agency to Blackstone in 2014.

Mr O’Flynn and Blackstone were subsequently involved in litigation about control of the assets with an agreement reached last year that gave the Irish developer control of most of his property empire. Ownership of some assets, including the Elysian, was transferred to Blackstone, albeit with Mr O’Flynn managing it for the investment giant.

Separately, Mr O’Flynn has acquired 42 acres in Kerry Pike – close to Apple’s regional headquarters in Cork – and is planning to build at least 100 houses at the site. He now has a land bank in Cork capable of supplying 2,500 homes.