The €40m Nama wives club
The women behind the big-name developers, some of whom owe hundreds of millions, have extensive portfolios, writes John Reynolds
Published 20/02/2011 | 05:00
THE wealthiest developers' wives -- some of whose husbands owe hundreds of millions of euros to Nama and assorted banks -- are thought to collectively own properties worth about €40m, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
As Nama announced last week that developers have drawn down €420m to complete building projects, figures compiled with the help of a leading estate agent have shed new light on the value of a number of properties that are owned or jointly owned by developers' wives.
A portfolio of properties worth about €12m was transferred into the name of developer Gerry Gannon's wife, Margaret, between 21 May and 10 December, 2009.
These include the former Belgian order convent on 74 acres beside Loughglynn, Co Roscommon, worth about €2m, which Gannon originally planned to convert into a hotel.
Other valuable properties include a redbrick pile in Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, worth about €2.5m, Hatley Manor in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, worth an estimated €1.75m and a luxury home in the Ladycastle development at the K Club, which was partly owned by Mr Gannon.
Also included were the family home in Howth, a bar and restaurant in Kinsale, as well as two holiday homes there and three apartments at Malahide Marina village, which were part of a development built by Gannon Homes.
A mortgage with Anglo Irish Bank in the name of indebted developer Bernard McNamara and his wife Moira on their mansions at 22 and 24 Ailesbury Road was registered on December 23, 2008.
No. 22, a 10.000sq-ft pile may be worth as much as €10m, while no. 24 could be worth €5m, meaning that a half-share in these would be worth €7.5m.
In September 2008, Mrs McNamara bought a €1.8m property in the exclusive Warren Street condominium in New York's Greenwich village.
In the past, the McNamaras have owned three luxurious properties in Marbella worth a combined total of €6.8m. One of these, a 4,050sq-ft villa almost directly opposite the Saudi royal family's holiday home in the Urbanizacion Ancion Playa, is thought to have sold for about €3.1m last year.
McNamara is thought to have debts of around €1.5bn, and while his firm, Michael McNamara and Company, went into receivership before Christmas, his wider construction empire is thought to involve a complex web of up to 200 companies, some of which are based in Luxembourg and the Isle of Man.
Although he now lives in Switzerland, financier Derek Quinlan and his wife Siobhan had an apartment in Dublin's five-star Merrion Hotel, worth an estimated €1m, registered in their names on March 12, 2010.
A half-share owned by Mrs Quinlan would be worth about €500,000.
Mr Quinlan recently put no. 43 Ailesbury Road, a large redbrick mansion in need of refurbishment, on the market for €2.95m, having originally paid €8.5m for it in 2007.
Loans to companies he formerly controlled were among the first to be transferred to Nama, one of them involving the doomed and now infamous Irish Glass Bottle site, in a joint venture with Bernard McNamara and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.
The enviable address of 35 Wellington Road in Ballsbridge, which is the family home of Madeleine and Richard Nesbitt -- the barrister and former Arnotts chairman who spearheaded the now stalled €700m Northern Quarter regeneration project in Dublin city centre -- is worth about €3m.
It was registered in Mrs Nesbitt's name on June 8 last year.
In March 2009, Dundrum shopping centre developer Joe O'Reilly put the family home on the exclusive Kerrymount Avenue, Foxrock -- worth an estimated €2.2m -- in the name of his wife, Deirdre.
That November, a number of apartments in Riverhall, Castleknock were also registered to Mrs O'Reilly.
In November 2008, the couple had taken out mortgages with Anglo Irish Bank on two south Dublin houses, including one in Brighton Road near the family home, and six apartments in Ballsbridge that are now worth about €4m.
The issue of transfers of properties from developers to their wives has in the past been controversial and Nama has said: "The agency is acutely sensitive to the risk that developers have tried -- or will try -- to transfer assets from their own names to spouses or other family members in order to remove them from the agency's scope."
Sunday Indo Business