The Return of the Dragon – Sunday Business Post by Tom Lyons

He was almost the president of Ireland, but fell at the last hurdle. Now Sean Gallagher is back. He wants to bring thousands of jobs to Ireland by creating space for business in a new €500m venture.

View article here.

The Right Moves: Clyde Real Estate on the rise – Independent.ie by Paul McNeive

Sean Gallagher may have been runner up in the race for “The Aras,” but today he is leading the way in providing business parks throughout Ireland.

As CEO of Clyde Real Estate, the former investor on Dragons Den is at the cutting edge of entrepreneurial support and I met him to discuss his strategy.

Mr Gallagher told me that “all businesses need a good business idea, capital, a good team and a property from which to run the business.”

In recent years he saw that the lack of development of office and industrial space, especially for overseas companies looking to establish in Ireland, was a serious challenge for the country. The lack of modern space was also affecting large corporations already here and indigenous companies looking to expand, especially in export markets.

The Cavan native, along with Waterford native Colm Piercy, established Clyde Real Estate to provide the modern space that the market was not developing. Colm Piercy is also CEO of Viatel which last week sold its European fibre network for €95m.

Funded by their own equity and other private investment they have made several acquisitions and are targeting investment opportunities on a number of fronts.

Their provincial backgrounds sees them comfortable operating regionally, as well as in Dublin, although Sean Gallagher told me that their strategy is not to compete for low yielding properties in Dublin city centre. “Our model is entrepreneurial investment and we are focusing on Dublin suburbs and the regions,” he told me.

“We look at large urban areas with a good road infrastructure and a third level institute or university,” he said.

Suburban acquisitions to date include a 30,000 sq m building in the IDA Blanchardstown Business and Technology Park, part let to Alcatel-Lucent and Citibank and with land for future development. Another investment nearby is “Stratus House” a 2,900 sq m office and data centre building on the IDA College Business and Technology Park.

As well as having office and industrial space at the IDA Business Park in Dundalk, the pair closed another major deal this year with the acquisition of the former Braun building in Carlow.

Comprising 21,000 sq m on a site of 12 ha, their plan is to develop this as a modern business park for the south-east and they have rebranded the property as Carlow Business Park.

Mr. Gallagher told me that they are actively seeking similar office and production buildings and sites in Cork, Limerick, Galway, Athlone, Waterford and Sligo.

His background in technology and Colm Piercy’s experience in telecoms and data centres sees them keen to develop “technology parks,” which he says is all about providing the right environment and services.

“Businesses function much better as part of a cluster,” he emphasised.

Clyde Real Estate’s positioning sees them working closely with IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and local authorities and Mr. Gallagher says that the private and public sectors need to work together to support job creation. He tells me he is impressed with IDA Ireland’s attitude and focus on the regions.

Another positive example he cites is Fingal County Councils re-launch of the Blanchardstown area as Dublin Enterprise Zone with a pro-business environment and investment in infrastructure.

Sean Gallagher is also looking to acquire properties arising from the sale of loan books by Nama and banks.

Again, they will look at buying properties in the regions, “that the big funds may not be comfortable with.” They will buy vacant or part-let properties and will manage and develop them.

“We really want to scale up now” he told me. “We are also looking to provide finance to debtors who can’t get the funding to buy their loans back from the big funds.

“We are open to doing joint ventures with property owners. We have the funds, the expertise and the entrepreneurial mindset. The owners know the property best and importantly they have the personal motivation to stay involved.” Clyde Real Estate is also seeking to acquire properties abroad and is looking for opportunities in Europe and the US.

On the ground, Clyde can already offer offices and production space in a variety of locations. Sean Gallagher is “hands-on” with the buildings and told me he’s going through a “crash course” in building and mechanical and electrical services.

When I asked him if he harboured any political ambitions, he smiled wryly. “I’m totally focused on property. That’s more than enough to keep me busy for now.”

 

Photo: Tony Gavin

Sean Gallagher raises €25m for new commercial property venture – Sunday Independent by Nick Webb

Sean Gallagher, the high-profile former presidential candidate, Dragon and Sunday Independent columnist has raised over €25m to buy commercial property with the launch of his new Clyde Real Estate group.

Gallagher and his backers are seeking to tap into the huge demand for quality offices in Dublin and other parts of the country. The firm has just bought the Alcatel-Lucent complex in Blanchardstown, in the largest commercial property transaction in Ireland in the first quarter of 2015.

Clyde Real Estate has raised €25m from an unnamed US private equity player, as well as bank debt and founder equity to fund the purchase of properties, the Sunday Independent was told.

Gallagher has teamed up with telecoms magnate Colm Piercy, who runs European communications group Viatel, to buy office and commercial properties in Dublin, Carlow and Louth over the last year.

Piercy is one of the most successful telecoms entrepreneurs in the country. He merged his Digiweb business into Viatel in a €120m merger in 2013 and the expanded firm has become increasingly valuable. He is also an investor in the data centre sector.

“Clyde Real Estate is a business-led property venture that has been founded by experienced business builders,” said Gallagher. “Each of us has grown our own technology companies and we feel uniquely placed to understand the flexible and high specification accommodation needs of modern business,” he added.

“We are focused on acquiring substantial office and commercial properties which will be made available to meet the growing needs of indigenous Irish companies, corporates and multinational firms seeking to establish or expand their operations here,” explained Gallagher.

As well as buying the 300,000 sq ft Alcatel-Lucent building, Clyde Real Estate has also done a deal to acquire the landmark Braun facility in Carlow from multinational Procter & Gamble.

Gallagher says the company will develop this 30-acre site into a dedicated corporate and technology park for the South East. Clyde Real Estate is working on closing a number of other deals which will give it a portfolio of office and commercial space encompassing around 1 million square feet.

The company’s existing clients include well-known names such Citibank, Alcatel-Lucent, Viatel, Ask.com and Paragon Global Resources.

Clyde is in talks with a number of other private equity and institutional funders on financing further acquisitions after it beds down its first round of commercial property deals. It is likely to seek to raise a larger sum from backers for property buyouts in Ireland and overseas markets

Gallagher and Piercy launch €25 million property venture – Sunday Business Post by Tom Lyons

Entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Sean Gallagher has teamed up with Colm Piercy, the founder and chief executive of the Digiweb Group, to form a property venture which has already acquired one million square feet of office space.

Clyde Real Estate has bought two of the biggest buildings in Ireland: the 300,000 square foot former headquarters of Alcatel Lucent in Dublin 15 and the 230,000 square foot former Braun facility in Carlow.

Gallagher told The Sunday Business Post that Clyde was raising €25 million to build up an office and commercial property portfolio, primarily in Ireland, but also overseas.

“We are focused on acquiring substantial office and commercial properties which will be made available to meet the growing needs of indigenous Irish companies, corporates and multinational firms seeking to establish or expand their operations here,” Gallagher said.

He said Clyde was in talks with multinationals about locating in Ireland, as well as with Irish companies. Existing tenants include Citibank, Alcatel Lucent, Viatel, Ask.com and Paragon Global Resources.

Gallagher said Clyde was working on plans to turn the former Braun facility in Carlow, which it acquired from Proctor and Gamble, into a new corporate and technology park for the south-east.

“It is a 30-acre site so there is huge potential,” Gallagher said. “This could become somewhere capable of supporting thousands of jobs.”

Gallagher, the former chief executive of home technology company Smarthomes, said he had been friends with Piercy for many years before the two decided to go into business.

Gallagher is chief executive of Clyde, while Piercy is its chairman.

“Clyde Real Estate is a business-led property venture that has been founded by experienced business builders,” Gallagher said. “Each of us has grown our own technology companies and we feel uniquely placed to understand the flexible and high specification accommodation needs of modern business.

“The lack of high-quality office and commercial space in many areas of the country has been identified by the National Competitiveness Council and the IDA as posing a serious threat to Ireland’s ability to continue to attract foreign direct investment into these locations,” Gallagher added. “In developing Clyde Real Estate, we are acutely aware that providing strategically well located facilities is key to being able to sustain Ireland’s economic growth.

“In particular, we are currently focused on acquiring quality assets in towns and cities where there are universities and institutes of technology that can provide a steady supply of talent to companies choosing to set up in these locations.”

Clyde Real Estate Acquires site of former Alcatel Lucent HQ in Dublin – Business & Leadership by Sorcha Corcoran

A commercial property firm established last year by ex RTE Dragon Sean Gallagher and Digiweb founder Colm Piercy has acquired the former headquarters of tech giant Alcatel Lucent in Dublin.

At over 300,000 sq ft and located in the IDA Business and Technology Park in Dublin 15, this represents the largest commercial property transaction in Ireland in the first quarter of 2015, according to the new firm, Clyde Real Estate.

Over the past 12 months, Clyde Real Estate has acquired around 1 million sq ft of office and commercial space around the country.

Most recently it took over the 230,000 sq ft former Braun facility in Carlow from Proctor and Gamble, which Gallagher said the company plans to develop into a dedicated corporate and technology park for the South East.

“Clyde Real Estate is a business-led property venture that has been founded by experienced business builders,” said Gallagher.

“Each of us has grown our own technology companies and we feel uniquely placed to understand the flexible and high specification accommodation needs of modern business.”

Gallagher is best known as co-founder and former CEO of home technology company Smarthomes and is also co-founder and director of app development company The App Factory and a non-executive director of pharmaceutical engineering services firm Team Horizon.

Winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for industry in 2012, Piercy is founder and group CEO of telecoms and managed services provider the Digiweb Group, which now includes Viatel and Smart Telecom, and is also chairman of Dataplex, a wholesale data centre business with facilities in Ireland and the UK.

Currently completing its first investment round of €25m, Clyde Real Estate is in negotiations to acquire further facilities nationwide as part of its next portfolio.

“The lack of high quality office and commercial space in many areas of the country has been identified by the National Competitiveness Council and IDA Ireland as posing a serious threat to Ireland’s ability to continue to attract foreign direct investment into these locations,” said Gallagher.

Gallagher buys Braun – The Nationalist by Suzanne Pender

The former Braun site has been bought by well-known entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Seán Gallagher in what’s been described as one of the country’s largest commercial property transactions in 2015.

The announcement came yesterday (Monday), following weeks of speculation and as exclusively revealed by The Nationalist last month.
new commercial property firm Clyde real Estate, headed up by Mr Gallagher, yesterday formally announced that it had purchased the former Braun facility in Carlow from Proctor and Gamble.
‘Clyde Real Estate has plans to develop the 30-acre site into a dedicated corporate and technology park, a mix of manufacturing with office and technology space,’ Mr Gallagher told The Nationalist.
‘This is an iconic site for Carlow and we are confident that Carlow has all the ingredients to attract industry and jobs, and that’ a very positive message for Carlow,’ he enticed.
Mr Gallagher confirmed that there has been ‘a good deal of interest’ among both foreign direct investment companies and indigenous Irish companies about the Carlow site. Mr Gallagher stated that the existing building was ‘Extremely well built and maintained by Protor and Gamble’, with the former factory’s main production area of 8,000 sq ft ideally suited to manufacturing industries, while the two buildings to the front of the site, the former canteen and office block currently connected by a corridor, were ideally suited to office space or production.

We have had a number of discussions with a number of potential tenants and also the IDA has brought a number of potential tenants to the area. The IDA has been very actively involved and we are very pleased with their commitment to our plans,” said Mr Gallagher.

He also described council representatives, officials and the local enterprise office as “extremely supportive” when his firm began to look as the possibility of purchasing the site earlier this year. He cited the supportive local authority, Carlow’s positive attitude to enterprise, the enormous success of IT Carlow, the site’s location with excellent road access to both Dublin and Waterford and the strong base of agricultural, manufacturing and technology industries that exist in the county as “hugely significant” in his purchase of the site.

“We see great potential for this facility and see Carlow as a great location for business,” he said. “Carlow has many positive attributes, including an excellent institute of technology, which will prove critical in attracting top-quality inward investment into an area. We look to working closely with the IDA, the local enterprise agencies and Carlow County Council and its public representatives to help attract companies and jobs to the site,” said Mr Gallagher.