Blackstone makes €100m Dublin investment

The New York firm has bought The Atrium in the Irish capital for its BREP Europe IV fund.

The Blackstone Group has made a €100 million investment in Dublin on behalf of its giant Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe IV fund.

The New York-based firm said it has bought The Atrium in the Irish capital from a group of private investors led by Pat Gunne, a well-known Irish property figure who is also a non-executive director of Ireland’s first Reit called Green REIT.

The Atrium is a 346,000 square foot asset in the South Suburbs area of Dublin that was developed in 2001, and the major tenants include Microsoft and Salesforce.

Ken Caplan, head of European real estate at Blackstone, said in a statement: “This is a further investment by us in greater Dublin and underlines our commitment to Ireland and the strengthening of its economy.”

The firm drew attention not just to its real estate deals in Ireland but also to being the largest shareholder in the country’s biggest telecoms operator Eircom, and various investments via its credit platform, GSO. Blackstone is also the largest investor in a number of global businesses which operate in Ireland including Hilton, with whom it manages six hotels in Ireland including Dublin’s recently renovated Burlington hotel.

In terms of pure real estate investments made in Ireland, though, its early foray arrived in 2012 when it bought the Burlington Hotel for €67 million. That property had previously been acquired by property mogul Bernard McNamara for €288 million in 2007.

Earlier this year, the firm made perhaps its biggest splash in the country’s real estate market when it acquired a portfolio of loans backed by assets such as Ireland tallest building, the Elysian Tower in Cork. The portfolio called Project Tower had a book value of €1.8 billion and was acquired from Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). It is a deal that subsequently became mired in a legal dispute with entrepreneur Michael O’Flynn who developed the Elysian Tower and who borrowed from banks to build up his property empire but subsequently saw his loans transferred from banks to NAMA.

Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe IV fund is Europe’s largest dedicated pool of capital for opportunistic investing. It was closed on $4.5 billion last year before the company decided to raise another $1.5 billion for it in a six-month period this year. A report last month suggested it had deployed around $2.9 billion from the fund and that projected IRRs were 19 percent.