Nama and developers facing multi-million bill for unused land
Owners of 70 sites, including State, revealed in council list, writes Ronald Quinlan
Vulture funds, developers and even the State itself will soon be liable for the payment of vacant site levies amounting to millions of euro annually, following an audit of unused land in the capital by Dublin City Council.
Since establishing its vacant site register earlier this year, council officials have found 385 sites in Dublin city that have lain idle for over a year, and which they deem suitable for either housing or regeneration. The sites meeting the criteria for inclusion on the register come from a wider inspection by the council of 971 sites in the capital.
To date, the ownership and valuation for 70 of the sites on the register has been established in preparation for the Government's 3pc vacant site levy which is set to come into force on January 1, 2019.
The most valuable holding comprises two sites on the South Circular Road now under the control of Nama. Assembled by the developer Ciaran Larkin prior to the crash, the former Player Wills cigarette factory and Bailey Gibson plant lands are valued at €22m and €12m respectively - a total of €34m.
While plans for the development of more than 1,000 homes on the site are now being considered by An Bord Pleanala, the South Circular Road lands were added to the vacant sites register two weeks ago. Should there be no progress on the site before 2019, its owners could be liable for a levy of up to €1.02m based on its current valuation.
The next most-valuable site on the register is at 164 Sheriff Street Upper in Dublin's docklands. Valued at €12.5m, the property is again under Nama's control. A failure to develop or dispose of the site before January 2019 could result in a levy of up to €375,000.
Luxor Investments, a company headed up by developer Padraic Rhatigan owns the register's third-most valuable holding. Located on Chancery Lane in Dublin 8, the property is valued at €10.7m leaving the owners potentially liable for the payment of a €321,000 levy in 2019.
Dublin City Council owns the next most valuable vacant site on the register, with an €8.25m land holding on Dominick Street.
Other notable entries on the list are the UK shopping centre giant, Hammerson. The company, best known for its ownership along with German insurers, Allianz, of the Dundrum Town Centre, is on the register by virtue of its ownership of several properties on O'Connell Street. The properties which are poised to form part of the Dublin Central development are valued at €5.4m, leaving Hammerson potentially liable for a levy of €162,000 in 2019.
Joe O'Reilly, the developer behind the Dundrum Town Centre and the man responsible for assembling the Dublin Central site meanwhile appears on the list by virtue of his company, Castlethorn Construction's ownership of a €5.5m site in Pelletstown in Dublin 15. Developer Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Estates also appears on the register with a vacant site adjacent to its Royal Canal Park residential scheme in Dublin 15 valued by council officials at €2m.
Ireland's biggest private landlord, Ires Reit, is on the register for its ownership of numbers 519-533 North Circular Road. The company which last week announced profits of €33.3m for the first half of this year faces a levy of €52,500 in 2019 should it leave the €1.75m site in its present state.
Sunday Indo Business