Chelsea FC among bidders for Battersea power station
Club plans to turn 40-acre, €620m site -- which is under control of NAMA and Lloyds Bank -- into iconic stadium
NAMA could provide Chelsea Football Club's next multi-million euro signing -- in the form of the €600m Battersea power station site in London.
The UK soccer club teamed up with property developer partner Almacantar to submit an offer for the site which is part controlled by Irish taxpayers through the National Asset Management Agency.
Chelsea was one of a number of bidders for the 40-acre development in central London when a deadline for offers closed yesterday.
The sellers did not offer a guide price when they put the site up for sale earlier this year, but industry sources reckon it is likely to have attracted bids in the region of €620m (£500m). Any buyer will need deep pockets, however, because development costs will ultimately be a multiple of the sale price.
The site comes with planning permission for eight million square feet of development, making it the biggest development site of its kind in London.
The planning approval includes a scheme to build 3,400 homes, a commercial and retail centre and even a new Tube station and connection.
The Battersea site was taken into administration -- the UK version of receivership -- in December last year over unpaid development loans owed to NAMA and Lloyds Bank.
They took control of the site from former owner Real Estate Opportunities (REO), a company controlled by developers Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett.
REO was nudged out after admitting it could not repay £502m of outstanding loans.
REO's owners reckon a successful development could have generated up to £4.5bn in profits over time. Earlier this week they launched a legal case against NAMA, seeking damages for losses they claim to have suffered as a result of losing control of the site.
The bidding process is being closely watched in the UK where Battersea power station has iconic status.
Yesterday it was the interest from Chelsea FC that captured the headlines -- with the club's Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich bankrolling a bid.
The club said it would leave its current home at nearby Stamford Bridge in favour of a new 60,000-seater stadium that would incorporate the derelict Battersea power station, which is a listed building and the biggest brick structure in Europe.
In a statement, Chelsea said the ground would "have the potential to become one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world".
Sources said the Chelsea bid was just one of a number of offers submitted by yesterday's midday deadline, and that interest had come from around the world.
Agents, Knight Frank and Ernst & Young, will now work through the offers with a sale potentially closing by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, NAMA is understood to have agreed to fund construction of a major development at Charlestown Shopping Centre in west Dublin.
The centre is owned by Bovale Developments, the building company owned by brothers Tom and Michael Bailey. In 2006, Bovale made a record €22m settlement with the Revenue Commissioners in a case that arose out of the the Planning Tribunal.
Work on the latest project will start next week and it's expected to create 250 construction jobs, and ultimately the same number of retail jobs afterwards.
NAMA is putting up €13m for the project. G&T Crampton is the main contractor.