DekaBank expected to buy former Burlo hotel for £154m
The future of Dublin's former Burlington Hotel as a four-star hotel and conference venue is to be secured following the entry of German asset manager DekaBank into exclusive talks with its owners.
Acquired by Blackstone for €67m (£57m) in 2012, the hotel, which now trades as the Doubletree Hilton, is expected to sell for around €180m (£154m).
Blackstone stands to almost double its money after investing nearly €20m (£17m) in refurbishing the hotel.
DekaBank fended off rival bids for the former Burlington Hotel from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the US-owned Hyatt Hotels and Host Hotels & Resorts.
Dalata Hotel Group, which also owns Belfast's Maldron and Clayton hotels, is in talks to acquire its leasehold interest.
The deal is regarded by the industry as the beginning of a transfer of the ownership of major real estate assets from funds with short-term investment horizons to those interested in holding assets as long-term investments.
And while concerns have been expressed that Dalata's considerable presence in the Dublin hotel market could see its efforts to secure the leasehold of the hotel subjected to scrutiny from Ireland's Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the expiration of its lease on the Ballsbridge Hotel in March 2018 should address that issue.
With the removal of the Ballsbridge Hotel's 399 rooms from Dalata's overall Dublin room count of approximately 3,200 rooms, the addition of the 502 rooms at the former Burlington would see its total count in the capital increase by just 103.
The plan for the former Burlington Hotel to continue operating as a four-star venue will be a welcome boon to the tourism industry, given the ongoing dearth of hotel rooms in Dublin.
Immediately prior to the crash and its later purchase by Blackstone, the hotel's previous owner, developer Bernard McNamara, secured planning permission from Dublin City Council to deliver a €1bn mixed-use development on its site and adjacent former headquarters of Allianz Insurance.
He paid a combined €393m (£336m) for the two properties.
The former Allianz premises was then acquired in June 2014 by developer Johnny Ronan in a joint venture with U+I -formerly Development Securities - and the Belfast-born property investor Paddy McKillen and Colony Capital.