The piece by Simon Carswell continues: "Quinlan Private gained a reputation for attracting cash-rich investors into high-profile property deals financed with high levels of bank borrowings and completed in quick transactions. The global economic slump and financial crisis has forced banks to seek renegotiated loan agreements with Quinlan Private – and Mr Quinlan on his own personal investments – due to falling values across the property markets."
There is no doubt that the myth of the 'canny Irish property investor' which circulated the planet in the late nineties and early noughties, was to a great extent propagated by the many headline deals struck by Quinlan and his group, albeit that many of these deals were struck at, or close to, the peak of the market.
According to the Times piece: "The company came to international prominence in 2004 when Mr Quinlan led a group of Irish investors to buy the luxury Savoy hotel group in London for €1.1 billion." He has also become well known for high profile deals such as the Four Seasons in Budapest, Santander in Madrid, Canary Wharf in London and expensive personal and business investments in Manhattan and around New York.
Those with a slightly jaundiced view of the world may well say that Quinlan has, much like Bertie Ahern, waited until things have gotten tough to leave the mess for someone else to clean up. He is, however, not leaving the company completely. The Times reports that "the former tax inspector will remain a significant investor with the company which will continue to be managed by its four existing partners – Olan Cremin, Peter Donnelly, Thomas Dowd and Mark O’Donnell."
The piece concludes: "Mr Quinlan has been trying to sell properties including a house in Manhattan for €23 million and offices, also in New York city, for €19 million and has reduced the prices in a bid to secure sales. He has recently been involved in negotiations with some of his banks about his investments."
Pieces on Quinlan's retirement in the Irish Times can be found here and here.
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