Business Irish

Thursday 21 September 2017

Toxic bank takes control of historic Boland's Mill site

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

NAMA has taken control of the historic Boland's Mill site in Dublin, the scene of fighting during the 1916 Rising and one of the largest and potentially most valuable development sites in the capital.

NAMA has appointed Glenn Cran and Mark Reynolds of Savills as Statutory Joint Receivers of Versus, the property company that controlled the huge, derelict, city centre building.

The Boland's Mill site at Grand Canal Dock in Dublin 4 covers about 1.7 acres.

The property has collapsed in value by a staggering 84pc following the property market bust, from €61m in 2007 to €9.9m in 2009, according to accounts filed by Versus with the Companies Office.

Versus Ltd was controlled by developer Sean Kelly and Veronne Kelly. Mr Kelly is a former executive with Ballymore, Sean Mulryan's group.

They paid €42m for the Boland's Mill site and planned to develop 67 apartments, two houses, 13,284sqm of office space, as well as retail and leisure facilities on the site.

That project has stalled, but NAMA's decision to loosen its purse strings to finance Irish projects means receivers are likely to consider pushing ahead with a major office development, potentially tapping NAMA's €2bn to tap into the demand for offices around the Grand Canal basin.

The surrounding area has become extremely popular as a location for hi-tech multinationals.

Treasury Holdings, another NAMA debtor, says it has let over 300,000 sq ft of office space in the same area in just 15 months -- including the vast Montevetro building sold to Google by Treasury, with backing from NAMA.

The original backer of the site was Anglo Irish Bank. The loans have since transferred to NAMA and stood at €54m when the last accounts were filed for Versus.

Debt

The debt is secured on personal guarantees, as well as the property itself.

The parent company of Versus Limited, Benton Property Holdings, went into receivership in October 2010.

Versus owes Benton €15.8m. According to its own filed accounts, the collapse in the property market is the main reason for the problems at the site.

The mill itself is a protected structure, originally built in the 1830s but added to over more than 100 years in use as a commercial mill.

Irish Independent

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