Comer Brothers Swoop For Kilternan Hotel
Luke Comer and Brian Comer are in the news today after Jack Fagan in the Irish Times reports that the brothers have bought the partially built Kilternan Hotel & Country Club in south Dublin at a knockdown price.
Jack Fagan reports that the Comer Group has paid about €7m for the Kilternan Hotel & Country Club complex on which €172m borrowed from Irish Nationwide was spent before the collapse of the property market. Fagan adds that the 96% write-down in value is easily the largest recorded for a substantial investment since the property and banking crisis began.
The Kilternan project and some associated ventures collapsed in 2009 under the weight of nearly €200m in borrowings run up by the late Hugh O'Regan, whose hubris is illustrated by the price the property is now being sold at.
It is estimated that the Comers will have to spend €20m to complete the Kilternan project, which consists of a non-completed 78-bedroom aparthotel and 128-bedroom hotel. The 177,000 square foot development on 300 acres includes a health centre, banqueting hall, spa and indoor tennis centre.
Luke and Brian Comer (pictured) are finalists in the International category of the 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards. They hail from Galway and started off with a plastering business. Now they're into all sorts of property development, with Luke living the high life in Monte Carlo and Brian residing in Hertfordshire.
The brothers have a reputation for being bottom fishers, and an EY gong in October would be in keeping with the property recovery zeitgeist.
A good example of the Comers' modus operandi can be seen here, a listing of apartment blocks around the country that have been snapped up by Comer Group.
The Galway lads seem to have taken a leaf out of the Kennedy Wilson playbook, assembling a large portfolio of apartments from distressed vendors that will be kept for ongoing letting. (August 2014)