Belfast Telegraph

Belfast-born property developer Paddy McKillen secures £100m for refinance of Doncaster shopping centre

By Margaret Canning

Belfast-born property developer Paddy McKillen and his business partner Padraig Drayne have refinanced a major retail asset in England.

Frenchgate Shopping Centre in Doncaster has received £100m from specialist lender pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank.

The move by McKillen and Drayne has increased speculation that they may also secure finance to buy back loans held on assets in Belfast, which have been put on the market by Ulster Bank through Project Achill.

Phyllis Agnew, head of real estate at law firm Tughans, said: "I would expect that most of the borrowers in Project Achill will be looking for opportunities to bid for their loans".

The greater Belfast assets held by the pair's Belfast Office Properties company include Waterfront Plaza and Ards Shopping Centre.

Pbb yesterday confirmed it had provided a £100m financing facility secured by the Frenchgate Shopping Centre in Doncaster, ultimately owned by Patrick McKillen, Padraig Drayne and "affiliates of Colony Capital".

The borrower was advised by Eastdil Secured – though no-one there was available for comment.

But Charles Balch of pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank said: "We are delighted to be providing this financing for this regional shopping centre.

"The transaction represents further expansion of the bank's portfolio secured on regional assets.

"It evidences pbb's appetite to provide financing for assets outside London."

The successful financing of the Doncaster asset will be a boost to Mr McKillen, who has been able to rely on the support of many powerful friends in his recent business travails.

Mr McKillen's epic battle with Daily Telegraph proprietors the Barclay brothers over ownership of top London hotels Claridge's, the Berkeley and the Connaught have even earned him a mention in the sleeve notes of U2's new album, Songs of Innocence.

The notes applaud Mr McKillen for his "grace under fire" in his long wrangle with the brothers. Mr McKillen, U2 frontman Bono and bass player The Edge are joint owners of the Clarence Hotel in Dublin.

Belfast Telegraph