Clerys finished

Not even bothering to open for one last Saturday trading day (it makes sense to secure the building like this - the union heads don’t work weekends and you wouldn’t want to give them time to organise anything).

Dinosaur retail is struggling for survival. It’s particularly hard to survive when your customers have to run the gauntlet of beggars, open drug use, violence, thievery and [less fortunate individuals] everywhere before they can even get in to your premises and start making buying decisions.

Who in their right mind would want that building? It would have a whole ream of planning restrictions, the square footage would have an obscene rate on it and those who you pay tax to couldn’t be bothered to do anything about cleaning up O’Connell Street.

Mind you, if they were around the corner and a few doors up, they might have been eligible for a €138m write-down…

I think it’s safe to assume that Michael Higgins will be making his Easter Sunday 2016 speech in the backdrop of a boarded up building (though I’m sure they’ll try to jazz it up for the day).

No unions.

They’re discussing their next course of action in the pub with a cigarette and a pack of Tayto.

You could always open an “interpretive centre” , allocate a budget, give out a few jobs to your mates and outsource any work that needs doing (to your mate’s company).

Would it be possible to convert the upper floors to residential maybe? Perhaps it will have to be offices if not.

The council plans to pedestrianise more of the city centre and ban cars even taxis. While the fairly crap public transport provided by dublin bus across the city does not offer people a real alternative to the car if you want to get in and out of the city quickly and comfortably with kids or large amounts of shopping.

So who knows what o connell st. and the surrounds might be like in 5 or 10 years if left in these incompetent hands.

Well that fuckwit Keegan succeeded in destroying Dun Laoghaire, his next target is the city centre.

In his high viz vest.

A bus lane on a road with no buses. Genius.

The whole thing confuses me. It has been for sale for a while now, and only just announced this morning that D2 Private (Deirdre Foley) had acquired it. Then a few hours later, closed up and High Court liquidation appointment. Will Foley just re-open the building afresh as a department store in coming weeks/months with no debt attached? Is this even possible, or would a judge lift the veil of incorporation and rule that the new operation should be liable for the outstanding debts? Don’t know much about the subject myself. Any insolvency experts here?

The operating company is separate to the property company. An appropriate pause in is order not to have to reemploy the unionised workers.

I was in Dublin city recently on the Saturday of the bus strike. Footfall was down dramatically from what I’m used to (I work most Saturdays in the city). In fairness to Dublin Bus, they are doing a very good job (though there seems to be a strange left-wing political slant creeping in to their corporate policy and corporate brand, but that’s for another day…)

I will wake up tomorrow, check the app, have my breakfast, step outside and the bus will be waiting to whisk me into town in 20 minutes. It would cost me €2.90 an hour to park outside my office.

Makes sense. Thanks.

When I read the thread title and opening post I had to do a quick memory refresh to remember where Clery’s even was, let alone if it still existed. Then I remembered. I bought my first work suits in there. The country people at work used to talk about meeting up “under Clery’s clock”.

I haven’t worn a suit to work for over 25 years. And I haven’t been in Clery’s since. Come to think of it, even though my bank branch is there, I couldn’t swear I’ve set foot in O’Connell Street in the last two decades. Admittedly I don’t frequent town much at all, except on rare occasions as a central place for a pub meet up. But even then, the O’Connell Street area would never suggest itself as a venue.

It’s sad that the main street of any capital city should be so singularly unattractive.

Clerys has had a major problem for a while I think, and it’s not really of their making. It’s a beautiful building but it didn’t offer anything you couldn’t get in Arnotts or Debenhams, not much anyway. And it was a bit away from shopping footfall.

If you were to do genuine root cause analysis, you’d have to look at the state of O’Connell Street which seems to consist of a handful of shops. Pennys and Easons have some advantage being on the Henry Street side of the street. Clerys is just that bit further away.

Other than that, O’Connell Street is a bit grotty given the lots of fast food stores and slot machine places.

I honestly believe that O’Connell Street could have a future as a plaza type place if it were pedestrianised and a little more care was given to the types of businesses opening in terms of cafes, niche shops etc and with public transport designed around it a little. But as long as it amounted to a bunch of pharmacies and a department store, plus Ann Summers, it will fundamentally continue to be somewhere people pass through rather than somewhere people go. And that does not support a store like Clerys. It could be a stunning plaza given some of the buildings around it are amazing and turning into a square would change the business focus of it.

The other issue, I think, is that Dublin is grossly over supplied with department stores. I don’t know that we really have enough business to sustain a Clerys, an Arnotts, a Brown Thomas, several branches of Debenhams, a House of Fraser and a Harvey Nichols (although frankly…). Of the lot of them, I tend to shop most regularly in Arnotts; don’t much like Brown Thomas as it’s not a pleasant store to shop in on any front, and recognise that I probably contributed to Clerys problems by never setting foot in the place even there the last time I was in there, there was considerable overlap between it and Arnotts in terms of offer. Given that, and given everything else around the Henry Street area, reasons for coming down to Clerys were scant.

I’m sorry Clerys closed in a lot of ways - yes it is iconic on O’Connell Street. But O’Connell Street itself is a kip. So yeah, I’m not surprised it wasn’t well because I can’t see how it had much footfall compared to the others. Harvey Nichs aside which is too far away from the rest of the Dundrum centre.

In the current environment O’Connell Street is just a bus terminus. The north end of the street is a ghost town and the ongoing Luas works and other restrictions render it totally inaccessible to car traffic from the outskirts. The lack of family friendly high rise buildings in the city centre has meant most of the population has settled down in suburbia where they are served by Blanchardstown and Dundrum shopping centres - these are family friendly and easily accessible by car and if you want to buy big ticket items and groceries that’s were you go.

Clerys is also on the marching route from Parnell square to the Dail and businesses in that area have been subject to major disruption over the past several months on the busiest shopping days of the week. One protest every so often maybe, but several add up in lost trade and give the area a bad reputation.

The surrounding population that lives in the vicinity uses public transport are mostly people who work in low income service sector and are more likely to shop in Lidl and Aldi than Clerys, The city center areas also have a high foreign population (mainly multi nationals serving continental Europe), I notice quite a few people from Spain and South America around. They are mostly young couples or single and temporary migrants, so how much does Clery’s attract their custom?

O’Connell Street is also the first destination of the tourists they tend to use the spike as a grid reference point to meet up before moving on, the buses from the cruise liners drop them in the city centre area so tourist operators have made inroads in the area, Carroll’s gift shops seem to saturate the city centre. Being a bus terminus the only reason to be on O’Connell street is waiting for your bus, in which case you might as well grab a McDonalds/Burger King, coffee or magazine before you make your way home.

I didn’t see any union activity outside Clery’s at 09:00 this morning. Though in fairness to the unions, I think they realise they have to be seen to be doing something - there’s a gathering happening up at Liberty Hall at 11:30.

The funny thing is if you are a well dressed woman or man and stand and wait alone on that stretch of the street after 8pm you stand a good chance of getting hassled. There’s too many [undesirables] It’s like a real life version of the Thriller video.
The solution is to stand in queue at a bus stop I suppose.

Just for the record.

U.S. PE firm buys Clearys with +80% financing from incumbent lender, BOI. BOI writes down original loan but retain a residual equity holding (as schmuck insurance).

U.S. PE firm make a big song an dance about revamping offering to convince employees to agree to the TUPE that allows the building to be split from the trading business.

U.S. PE firm also extracted additional concessions re pension fund for sustainability and to reduce the carrying cost of their investment.

Building mysteriously springs a leak and damage results in an insurance claim = buy-out price.

Building re-opens fully revamped.

U.S. PE firm make little effort on new franchise and put quietly on the market in early 2014.

D2, which lost fortunes for Irish clients, and has little experience in this area, appears with more ‘dumb money’ to buy out for more then 2x what U.S. PE paid (10x their equity).

Result:

  1. Employees - zero

  2. D2 - 1 (the management fees)

  3. U.S. PE firm - 10

  4. BOI - 1 (this probably should be zero)

  5. D2 investors - 0 (we have been down this route before)

D2, or so I hear, only has a small % of this and is being used as a sort of local agent for Dem Furriners PE interests mainly. I hear the complex will have new owners in a few months anyway Dem Furriners seemingly having already agreed a flip …after D2 and Deirdre Foley first do the dirty on:

a) Staff
b) Pension Funds
c) Concessionaires.
d) Dublin City Council planning and zoning policy.

and that new owner might even be …Google! :slight_smile:

If this is not sorted well for the workers, I hope it it is boarded up for the cameras/media next Easter.

Won’t happen. Occupy a building until Easter? Who would pay for the nappies? The media’s readers/viewers/listeners would run out of interest after about a week of it.

O’Connell Street - and particularly Upper O’Connell Street is deeply unpleasant and has been ALLOWED get that way by the authorities.

The state of O’Connell Street has been a subject of discussion for at least 3 decades. At one time there was a “Streets Commission” set up by Haughey or John Bruton but it was disbanded.

There is as much chance of a pleasant O’Connell Street as there is of a smoothly functioning health service, ie zilch.