Friday 9 December 2016

How Nama developer cruised the Caribbean

Mick Cotter of Park Developments takes luxury yacht to Antigua race

Roisin Burke

Published 26/02/2012 | 05:00

A FAIR WIND AND SHE'S OFF: Mick Cotter's super-fast Whisper, goes through her paces
A FAIR WIND AND SHE'S OFF: Mick Cotter's super-fast Whisper, goes through her paces

NAMA developer Michael Cotter spent last week sailing the high seas around the islands of the Caribbean, far from the travails of the property market shambles back at home.

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Mr Cotter raced his €1m-plus 80ft yacht Whisper out of the beautiful sun-drenched island of Antigua in temperatures of a balmy 25 degrees for a four-day fixture that is one of the most prestigious events on the sailing calendar.

The Caribbean 600, a six-hundred-mile offshore race around 11 islands of the Caribbean, is run by Antigua's Royal Ocean Racing Club.

One of the Celtic Tiger's biggest construction companies, Mr Cotter's Park Developments was one of the first to sell €1m-plus homes in Dublin in the early days of the property boom. Park was also reported to be one of the bidders for the Jury's Doyle site that was eventually bought for €400m by Sean Dunne.

On Friday night, champagne corks popped and the celebrations were lively at the prizegiving ceremony at the packed Antigua Yacht Club, a location legendary for its post-race parties and super wealthy yacht owners.

Last month Whisper won the more informal Antigua Yacht Club's Round The Island Race and Mr Cotter's yacht is signed up for three more races in Antigua in coming months.

Mr Cotter also sails out of Dun Laoghaire and Villefranche on the French Cote D'Azur, where he and construction empire chief John Sisk are developing an exclusive yacht club. Mr Cotter's 80ft Reichel Pugh cruiser racer is worth €1m-€2m, according to the boat's San Diego designers.

Mr Cotter has raced Whisper on Mediterranean, Irish and British waters for the past six years. This year saw the yacht's Caribbean debut.

Park Developments is one half of a consortium partnered with the local council on a massive unfinished €300m marina development at Greystones Harbour, Co Wicklow.

Sispar, a partnership between Park Developments and construction giant Sisk, had its loans transferred to Nama in 2010. Phase two of the development is incomplete, to much dissatisfaction.

Sispar has applied to Nama for funding to progress the development and Nama has responded with a request for further details from the consortium and will make a decision on whether the project will proceed in March.

"It is essential that certainty is brought to the future of this project as quickly as possible," said Fine Gael TD Simon Harris. "My absolute concern for this development is that all the public facilities which were pledged to the people of Greystones are delivered upon."

It is believed that loans associated with the Greystones Harbour development are being serviced in full and on time.

Mr Cotter did not respond to requests for comment.

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