Ex-Ask man’s Vision has Irish backer

Limerick-based Leahy, who made his fortunes in the Irish parcel delivery business and is best known for buying the Ask-developed Bauhaus office scheme in Manchester in 2004 for £20m, launched Vision Developments this week.

Cliff, who left Ken Knott’s Ask last month, said the partnership would combine his development skills with Leahy’s investment expertise.

He and Leahy already have two projects under way in Manchester and Liverpool.

The first involves the redevelopment of Barton Square, a building behind Manchester’s historic Barton Arcade, to create a new thoroughfare and scheme similar to London’s Leadenhall Market.

In Liverpool, Cliff and Leahy have formed a joint venture with Huntsmere to create a mixed-use scheme on Crosshall Street in the centre of Liverpool, comprising 70,000 sq ft of offices for lease and purchase, and a 50-bedroom boutique hotel. The scheme’s estimated value is around £40m.

via PropertyWeek 2009
Posted in In The Media, UK Property | Tagged

It’s working In Manchester

morgan leahy limerickBarton Arcade offers one of the most prestigious addresses within the city of Manchester. The serviced offices are situated in our beautiful 19th Century building, offering serviced offices, virtual offices, flexi -desking, meeting rooms and a whole host of business services. With an extensive choice of newly refurbished offices to choose from, the offices are already proving to be very popular.

The offices at Barton Arcade are at the heart of Manchester‘s retail and leisure district and on the most famous street in Manchester, Deansgate. Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Carla Wells 0844 335 6797

Barton Arcade is a Vision Development – founded 12 months ago by former Ask Developments director Stephen Cliff and Irish investor Morgan Leahy.

Posted in UK Property

Fashion TV Comes to Barton Arcade

Barton Arcade recently hosted the Fashion TV Party. The event was filmed for Manchester TV celebrities, models and fashion industry leaders turned out in force for  the hottest fashion event of the year.

Posted in In The Media | Tagged

Property Market UK

Vision Developments, founded 12 months ago by former Ask Developments director Stephen Cliff and Irish investor Morgan Leahy, has made a rapid impact with a string of prime city centre acquisitions

Some trading names vanish and others emerge during recessions and Manchester’s property market is getting used to seeing Vision Developments on the buyers’ side of the table.

In April, in partnership with Les Lang’s Infinity (see feature, p65), the company completed the £6m purchase and leaseback of 53 King Street. The building, which had been owned by Lloyds bank for more than a century, is one of the most architecturally notable in central Manchester.

Vision has been capitalising on the weak market to gather an investment and development portfolio in prime city centre sites.

Although the charismatic Morgan Leahy, who made his money in Limerick’s haulage industry, is well known on the Manchester property circuit, the public face of the business is Cliff’s.

‘We’re looking at investment opportunities with two or three years’ income and with redevelopment angles in the future,’ he says, standing in the grade II-listed Barton Arcade in Deansgate that Leahy bought in 2007.

‘Everything we buy will be within 500 metres of here. We will be office focused with maybe some retail. No residential and no industrial.’

It was in 2005 that Cliff first worked with Morgan Leahy, who had just bought the Bauhaus office, hotel and residential block in Quay Street from Ask for around £15m. In 2007, Leahy sold Bauhaus for a £7m profit to Blackrock, formerly Merrill Lynch Investment Managers.

In the same year, Morgan Leahy paid £17m for Barton Arcade and £12.7m for the adjacent Lancaster Buildings, both comprising shops below offices, and both now part of the Vision portfolio. Leahy also agreed a £2m sale of the Lancaster Buildings’ office element to Maple Grove.

‘It is a cliche, but we are bucking the trend at the moment,’ says Cliff. ‘We said to ourselves 12 months ago that it is going to be a good time to buy property. We got together and started finding out what opportunities there were.’

Invicta victory
Vision’s first acquisition, last September, was Invicta House, an office building on the edge of Allied London’s Spinningfields business district. It was bought from Maple Grove for £3.5m.

‘Invicta is 10,000 sq ft of offices but has a 25-space car park, which opens it up to development opportunity if the building is demolished,’ says Cliff. ‘It could fit 50,000 sq ft in total and make it another Bauhaus, with 7,000 sq ft floorplates, which means it doesn’t compete head on with Spinningfields’ more corporate offer.’

The 53 King Street purchase was made with another former Ask director, Les Lang, who now runs the Infinity fund. They bought the 43,000 sq ft investment at a 12% yield. The transaction was financed with bank funding from an unnamed source and £2.5m of equity.

Cliff says he expects another three deals to complete before the end of 2009, although he is not yet prepared to divulge details.

Leahy, who divides his time between Limerick and Manchester, retains business interests in Ireland and is said to raise additional finance to form consortia on some deals. Invicta has several tenants with two to three years left to run on leases, leaving Cliff to concentrate on Lancaster Buildings and Barton Square.

Barton Arcade has 30,000 sq ft of offices above the fully let retail space, as well as small suites, which are being refurbished.

The biggest change will come, subject to planning consent, along the street behind Barton Square, where Cliff plans to create glass frontages and entrances to open it up to retail activity on both sides.

For years, the street has been a ‘rat run’ cluttered with wheelie bins and bars. Its main public use is as a means to access the Circle Club, a nightclub in the basement.

Cliff says the street, bordered on one side by the back of St Anne’s Arcade, could be opened up and effectively made anew. A planning application is expected by the end of the year, although a start has already been made. Earlier this year, the Circle Club opened restaurant kitchen on the ground floor of Barton Arcade. Cliff says it received funds for the fit-out and a generous rent-free period.

‘We need to bring some life into the arcade,’ he explains. ‘Currently the shops aren’t open late and the gates close at 7.30 pm. We are going to see how it goes and maybe open the gates in due course.’

Cliff is consulting retail tenants about later opening times. Meanwhile, retail usage has been extended to the first floor.

The market will be watching closely to see where Cliff and Morgan Leahy buy next. Purchases such as the ones made so far should establish the Vision name before too long.

via Property Week
Posted in In The Media

UTube Success For Barton’s Circle Club

Video invitation to Mo’s birthday, Circle Club’s manager, at Barton Arcade gets hundreds of hits on UTube.

The Circle is Manchester’s premier private members club offering a sumptuous meeting, drinking and eating space for creative, media and professional people. Located in Barton Arcade The Circle is one of Morgan Leahy Property Group’s most recent projects.

Posted in In The Media | Tagged | Leave a comment

Launch of Bauhaus Project

Sir Howard Bernstein (CEO Manchester City Council) and Morgan Leahy (Limerick based property investor) pictured at the launch of the Manchester City Re-Development Bauhaus Project.

Posted in Current Property Projects, UK Property | Leave a comment

Joining Forces

The legendary Circle Club, Manchester’s exclusive 24-hour licensed private member’s club, is set to expand its iconic brand throughout the region.

Based in the grade ll listed Barton Arcade off Deansgate, the VIP club which is famous for its celebrity clientele, is aiming to create a further six Circle venues within the next two years and is already in negotiation on two proposed sites.

They are looking for sites in premiership towns around Greater Manchester such as Alderley Edge and Knutsford and key cities including Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester.

The club will be working in partnership to identify and acquire key sites with Vision  Developments which is backed by property magnate Morgan Leahy, who owns the Barton Arcade, Lloyds and Lancaster  House among other property.

“We have worked with the Circle Club as one of our anchor tenants in the Barton Arcade for the last three years and have been impressed with how they have turned the club around and expanded it during that period,” said Stephen Cliff of Vision Developments and award-winning property entrepreneur.

“It makes absolute sense for us to join forces and help roll out the Circle brand across the region when you combine our property know-how and their expertise in the leisure sector as they have well and truly bucked a trend.” added Morgan Leahy, co-founder of Vision Developments.

As well as Vision Developments, which has a number of projects already underway in Manchester City Centre including Invicta House in Spinningfields and Lloyds on King Street and is aggressively adding to its Manchester City Centre portfolio, they are looking for further investors through a proposed Enterprise Investment Scheme.

Posted in UK Property

Barton Arcade Store Openings

The Barton Arcade, backed by Limerick based investor Morgan Leahy, has added its eclectic mix of independent and designer fashion outlets with the addition of high-end names such as Ed Hardy, Jeffery West, Elvis Jesus and Ringspun. With its wining combination of choice and location within the heart of Manchester’s dynamic shopping district, Barton Arcade is an essential stop on any shopping adventure.

Posted in UK Property | Tagged | Leave a comment

38 DPD Depots in Ireland

Even during a recession it is critical that businesses expand and change to continue to meet customer needs. This has been the case for DPD Ireland, who have increased the number of depots located in Northern Ireland from five to seven in recent months.

“This brings the total number of our depots in Ireland to 38 premises, making DPD by far the largest express parcels network in the country” said Morgan Leahy, Chief Executive of DPD Limerick. “The expansion in the North allows us to offer an improved level of service to our customers there, with more resources to manage these customers’ accounts, leading to improved customer satisfaction and retention”. DPD Depot List May09

More info contact DPD Limerick, Unit B2,Corcanree Business Park, Dock Road, Limerick. Phone 061 480 999 or 480150
Posted in Ireland News

Rapid impact with a string of prime city centre acquisitions

Vision Express

Some trading names vanish and others emerge during recessions and Manchester’s property market is getting used to seeing Vision Developments on the buyers’ side of the table.

In April, in partnership with Les Lang’s Infinity, the company completed the £6m purchase and leaseback of 53 King Street. The building, which had been owned by Lloyds bank for more than a century, is one of the most architecturally notable in central Manchester.

Vision has been capitalising on the weak market to gather an investment and development portfolio in prime city centre sites.

The firm was founded 12 months ago by former Ask Developments director Stephen Cliff and Irish investor Morgan Leahy. Although the charismatic Leahy, who made his money in Limerick’s haulage industry, is well known on the Manchester property circuit, the public face of the business is Cliff’s.

‘We’re looking at investment opportunities with two or three years’ income and with redevelopment angles in the future,’ he says, standing in the grade II-listed Barton Arcade in Deansgate that Leahy bought in 2007.

It was in 2005 that Cliff first worked with Leahy, who had just bought the Bauhaus office, hotel and residential block in Quay Street from Ask for around £15m. In 2007, Leahy sold Bauhaus for a £7m profit to Blackrock, formerly Merrill Lynch Investment Managers.

In the same year, Leahy paid £17m for Barton Arcade and £12.7m for the adjacent Lancaster Buildings, both comprising shops below offices, and both now part of the Vision portfolio. Leahy also agreed a £2m sale of the Lancaster Buildings’ office element to Maple Grove.

‘It is a cliche, but we are bucking the trend at the moment,’ says Cliff. ‘We said to ourselves 12 months ago that it is going to be a good time to buy property. We got together and started finding out what opportunities there were.’

via Property Week
Posted in In The Media, UK Property | Tagged ,

Prime Investment in Central Manchester

One of Manchester’s most beautiful, but unsung historic buildings, has been secured by some of the region’s brightest new talents.

Lloyd's TSB Bank, Manchester

In their first joint venture, Infinity’s property fund and Vision Developments have completed the purchase of 53 King Street in central Manchester.  The £6 million purchase sees both organisations securing an equal share in the property, which houses Lloyds TSB.

The building totals 43,000 sq ft, and includes a large banking hall on the ground floor. Lloyds TSB currently has two years remaining on the lease, providing Infinity and Vision Developments with an attractive income in a prime central Manchester location.

Stephen Cliff, managing director at Vision Developments, said: “The building was built for Lloyds TSB nearly 100 years ago and Lloyds has been in occupation ever since it was built.  Lloyds TSB has a lease which is shortly to come to an end, and we have already begun to evaluate how to maximise the building’s potential both in terms of aesthetics and uses.  However future plans for the building have not yet been finalised, and we intend to work closely with our current tenant.”

Les Lang, property partner at Infinity, commented: “This investment is significant as it marks a successful and very attractive deal in the current climate. The building has three excellent entrances onto King Street and Cross Street creating untold potential for modernising and transforming some of its staid interiors without impinging on its history and heritage.”

Morgan Leahy, co-founder of Vision Developments added “We saw this as an extremely rare opportunity to acquire a landmark building in the city centre.  The purchase price, which equates to an initial net yield of 12%, would have been unthinkable 12 months ago.

Lang added: “Infinity’s property fund is committed to the funding and development of innovative projects and the acquisition of such an iconic building is a step which we found particularly appealing.  I’m delighted to be working with Vision. As like-minded companies, we can share our skill-sets and knowledge, to make this a very productive deal.  Having previously worked with Stephen Cliff, I’m confident that this joint venture will be the start of a long and fruitful relationship with Vision.

Infinity and Vision have worked alongside a number of partners on the deal. These include: commercial real estate agents Knight-Frank led by partner Steve Carrick, and solicitors Brabners Chaffe Street led by partner Mathew Dobson.

via infinity
Posted in In The Media, UK Property

Vision sets sights on Manchester

Invicta House, Manchester

Stephen Cliff and Morgan Leahy’s Vision Developments has bought the freehold interest in Invicta House, Manchester, from Maple Grove Developments.

The site, which is within the Spinningfields district, is around 10,000 sq ft.

The price was not disclosed but the site was marketed with a £3.5m price tag by Christopher Dee. Vision, which already has two development projects under way in Manchester and Liverpool, said the building had ‘excellent development potential’.

Posted in In The Media, UK Property

Vision buys Invicta House for £3.5m

*

VISION Developments, the company set up with backing from Limerick-based investor Morgan Leahy, has made its first major purchase in central Manchester.

Vision led a consortium which paid around £3.5m for Maple Grove Developments’ Invicta House in Atkinson Street, close to the 4m sq ft Spinningfields development.

The 10,000 sq ft building overlooks the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters on Hardman Street. Plans for redevelopment will be unveiled soon, says Vision.

Andy Lavin, director of Maple Grove, said: “We placed this property on the market at the beginning of September, with the aim of generating a profit for the wider group, and we are delighted.”

Stephen Cliff, managing director of Vision Developments, said: Invicta House is Vision’s first major purchase in Manchester, and we couldn’t have hoped for a better placed opportunity. It joins our exciting and well placed portfolio of opportunities in the north west.”

Posted in UK Property | Leave a comment

£10m plan for Barton Square

Hyperactive limerick based investor Morgan Leahy has teamed up with Manchested developer Stephen Cliff to create a £100m property partnership.

The pair’s first project will be to create a new £10m upmarket shopping street off St Ann’s Square and behind Deansaget

click to read full article by David Thame

Posted in In The Media, UK Property | Leave a comment

Morgan Has Vision

Morgan Leahy Property Group teams up with Vision Development to re-develop Barton Square.

*Morgan Leahy Property Group with its new partner are planning to re-develop Barton Square, the thoroughfare behind Manchester¹s historic Barton Arcade, which connects Deansgate and St Ann’s Square, and create a new street with a variety of retail and leisure uses. Morgan Leahy Property Group already own Barton Arcade and also the adjacent Lancaster Building, which in total comprises a Victorian retail frontage along Deansgate of around 100 metres.

Cliff said; “The new street is a progression of the works already underway to rejuvenate the Arcade. Our aspiration is to animate and improve the under-utilised Barton Square.”

“Morgan Leahy and I have a strong relationship to build on. We are both extremely excited about the possibility of bringing Barton Square up to its full potential. It is massively under-exploited given its character, heritage and central location. We are confident we can create a vibrant quarter there.”

Posted in UK Property | Tagged | Leave a comment

Shannon Foynes Port Company Pay Damages and Costs

THE troubled Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC), which will have to pay out hundreds of thousands of euro in damages and costs arising from a recent High Court settlement now faces another court battle. 

Former SFPC non-executive director, Morgan Leahy, who recently settled a damages action against the firm, has initiated new High Court proceedings claiming SFPC has breached terms of its settlement.

A statement of claim has been lodged by the legal firm Arthur Cox & Co on behalf of Mr Leahy naming SFPC as defendants.

Mr Leahy a company executive of Ahane Road, Lisnagry, Co Limerick had jointly sued SFPC with former chief executive Brian Byrne. As part of that settlement Mr Byrne received damages in excess of €500,000 and Mr Leahy received €50,000 which he donated to Milford Hospice.

In documents lodged in the High Court in recent days, Mr Leahy claims the SFPC has breached the settlement agreement.

In his statement of claim, Mr Leahy states: “It was a condition to the said agreement that certain undertakings and letters would be executed by various persons who had an involvement in the disputes that gave rise to the proceedings.”

Mr Leahy claims that as part of the compromise of the earlier proceedings, Brian Cosgrave, who had made allegations against the plaintiff, furnished the following undertaking: “I hereby undertake that I will withdraw the complaint and allegations made on the in August 2006 and more particularly contained in writing of the 18th of October 2006 and made against Brian Byrne and Morgan Leahy and furnished to the company and in order to facilitate the company in resolving the above entitled proceedings. Brian Cosgrave undertakes that he shall not re-ventilate or repeat the complaints and allegations referred to therein.”

The plaintiffs responded: “In consideration of the withdrawal by Brian Cosgrave of allegations and complaints … concerning us, [we] hereby waive, release and abandon any claim which we may have against Brian Cosgrave and Brian Cosgrave Transport (Limited) in respect of his having made the said allegations and complaints.”

In his statement of claim to the High Court, Mr Leahy claims that wrongfully — and in breach of the terms of the earlier agreement and in breach of representations, the defendant — SFPC furnished Mr Brian Cosgrave with a letter which included the following text: “On behalf of Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC), I should like to formally and sincerely apologise to you for all and any wrongs, details of which are the subject of allegations made to SFPC by you, which you have suffered at the hands of the port, as directors and employees.”

Mr Leahy claims the existence of substance of this SFPC letter was not disclosed to him and had he been aware of the terms of the letter he would not have agreed to compromise the earlier proceedings.

In his statement of claim, he states: “By reason of the matters aforesaid the plaintiff has suffered loss and damage and in particular has been deprived of the opportunity of vindicating his reputation as aforesaid and has been brought into odium ridicule and contempt.” Mr Leahy is claiming damages for breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation, plus interest and costs.

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Wednesday, April 30, 2008. By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent

Posted in In The Media, Ireland News

Region Attracting Developers

A SQUEEZE on consumer spending is not deterring developers intending to build new shops in Greater Manchester.

In the city centre, in Stockport, Oldham, Wigan and Ashton, developers are investing heavily in new shopping schemes. Two city centre developments are leading the way, both of them off Deansgate.

The historic Barton Arcade is to be transformed as Irish investor Morgan Leahy leads a refurbishment intended to bring the Victorian arcade back up to international standards.

The arcade is home to 13 shops and 23,000 sq ft of offices, all of which will be upgraded. The owners have applied for planning permission to improve the shop frontages. When complete, the Arcade will be worth £20m. It will form part of a programme of upgrade work which will also include Lancaster Buildings, owned by the same group.

via Manchester Evening News
Posted in In The Media

£17m Barton Arcade Purchase

Barton Arcade is to be reborn – as a style junkie’s paradise.
David Thame

The grade II listed Victorian arcade at Deansgate – originally designed to look like Milan’s famous fashion haunt, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele – is to be transformed into a magnet for trendy shoppers.

David Mallon, the Manchester designer behind the inconic Ringspun meanswear label, is to open a new store on the site. The 3,000 sq ft General Store will be the first of its kind.

Deals are close to being agreed with two other high-gloss retailers.

David Mallon started his clothing career with a small unit in Afflecks Palace in 1991. He started the Ringspun brand in 1995.

After period in Yorkshire, the label returned to Manchester in 1999. It has been associated with Northern Quarter fashion house, Red Inc.

Barton Arcade was bought earlier this year by Limerick-based investor Morgan Leahy in a £17m deal.

The building is being refurbished along with neighbouring Lancaster Buildings, also bought earlier this year by Mr Morgan Leahy, in a £12.7m deal with Manchester-based investor Nabeel Chowdry.

Remodel

The new owner has just won planning permission to remodel shop fronts and are now aiming the arcade at lifestyle and high-fashion retailers.

Chris Jones, partner at Manchester property investment specialists Christopher Dee, and a close adviser to Mr Leahy, said: “The Barton Arcade is a gem that has been left to rust for too long. It has been in the hands of institutional owners for ten years and needs some careful hands-on management, which is what we are trying to give it.

“We already have a 3,000 sq ft letting to General Store, and we have two others stores close to deals. We are also talking to existing tenants about refreshing the entire arcade as we re-orient it towards the fashion market.”

Office space at both Lancaster Buildings and Barton Arcade is also being refurbished.

A long lease, valued at around £2m, has been granted to Preston-based developer Marple Grove, which will refurbish around 13,000 sq ft of offices on the second and third floor at Lancaster Buildings.

Butterfield Architectural Design, which has been involved with designs for Barton Arcade, say that removing unsuitable 1970s shop fronts will reveal the arcade in its original glory.

Posted in In The Media, UK Property | Tagged | Leave a comment

SFPC propose settlement including withdrawl of false allegations

Negotiations to settle a High Court case involving two directors of Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) have fallen through.

The company had offered to pay the legal costs of suspended chief executive Brian Byrne and non-executive director Morgan Leahy – which have now topped €700,000 – as well as a substantial settlement for the two men to withdraw their action against the company. A committee of inquiry was set up last October to investigate allegations against the two men.

The allegation, made by Brian Cosgrave of Cosgrave Transport, concerned the establishment of a haulage company which would have been given exclusive port company contracts. Byrne and Leahy deny the allegation.

The two men successfully prevented the inquiry in the High Court and they have been in court again in the last fortnight to secure discovery of documents and other materials relating to their case.

Further argument relating to the inadequacy of SFPC’s discovery will be heard by Mr Justice Clarke tomorrow. Representatives of Holmes O’Malley Sexton solicitors – acting on behalf of SFPC – drafted a proposed settlement which included a withdrawal of Cosgrave’s allegations in return for Byrne and Leahy agreeing not to sue Cosgrave or his company. But Byrne and Leahy eventually decided to continue with their action, which could see former directors called to give evidence.

Meanwhile, transport minister Martin Cullen has failed to appoint a new board to SFPC or Dublin Port Company.

Extract from Sunday Business Post Port firm fails to resolve High Court case against two directors By Nicola Cooke
Posted in In The Media, Ireland News | Tagged

Malicious and Totally Untrue

Chairman of Shannon Foynes Port Company, Kieran McSweeney, has rejected claims by the port company chief executive, Brian Byrne, that an investigation into allegations against Mr Byrne and non-executive director of the company, Morgan Leahy, was motivated by “a conspiracy” to derail the Limerick Docklands Initiative (LDI).

Mr McSweeney’s denial was contained in legal documents put before the High Court yesterday. The court has heard that the allegations against Mr Byrne and Mr Leahy by Limerick haulier Brian Cosgrave were made on August 26th last year, after which the port company board set up a committee – the Guilfoyle committee – to investigate them.

Full details of the allegations by Mr Cosgrave have not been outlined in court but Mr Byrne said in an affidavit they were to the effect that he and Mr Leahy had abused their positions to secure personal gain, had orchestrated a vendetta against Mr Cosgrave and had treated him unfairly.

He and Mr Leahy have rejected the claims as malicious and totally untrue. Mr Byrne said the allegations were part of an attempt by Mr Cosgrave and property developer John Hegarty to derail the LDI.

In proceedings before Mr Justice Frank Clarke, both men are seeking an order restraining the investigation into the allegations by the Guilfoyle committee. Both men claim the committee has been compromised by “secret contacts” with the board and has acted unfairly towards them.

They say they are willing to co-operate with what their counsel described as a truly independent investigation.

Yesterday, Gerard Hogan SC, for the port company, denied that the investigation committee had acted unfairly or that there had been anything sinister in the approach of the port company board or of the investigation committee in dealing with the allegations by Mr Cosgrave.

Mr Hogan also denied that there was “massive animus” between a Limerick firm of solicitors that acted for the port company, Holmes O’Malley Sexton, and Mr Byrne. There had been a sharp disagreement between the firm and Mr Byrne about legal business going elsewhere, he added, but this was not unusual in the legal profession.

Earlier, Paul Gardiner SC, for Mr Byrne and Mr Leahy, said the allegations by Mr Cosgrave were made just two days before a critical meeting of the board of the port company on the LDI. Mr Byrne believed the claims were motivated by a conspiracy to derail the LDI in its current format. While Mr Byrne had wanted the board meeting of the LDI to go on despite the allegations, Mr McSweeney had strongly resisted that and the meeting was “sidetracked completely” as a result of the allegations, counsel said.

extract from Irish Times Article by Mary Carolan
Posted in In The Media, Ireland News