Saturday 3 December 2016

The Punt: Is Battersea on the slide again?

Published 11/03/2016 | 02:30

Battersea Power Station Development Company has been hit by the slide in the London luxury homes market, where demand has fallen sharply
Battersea Power Station Development Company has been hit by the slide in the London luxury homes market, where demand has fallen sharply

Could the curse of Battersea Power Station be striking again?

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The iconic property in central London has been a graveyard for developers almost since it closed down more than 30 years ago. Numerous planned developments have never got off the ground there, but the builders keep coming back to it. It is considered one of the few really big sites in the UK capital that could be used for large scale development projects.

On this side of the Irish Sea it earned a degree of notoriety through being owned by Real Estate Opportunities - a company controlled by Johnny Ronan's Treasury Holdings.

Famously, Nama called in the loans tied to the site and sold them for €600m to a Malaysian consortium back in 2012. The State bad bank has been criticised on and off ever since, with various voices in the property world suggesting Nama could have sold it for a lot more.

Well now its current owners are cutting the number of large homes they will build on the site, and replacing them with more affordable one and two-bed apartments. Battersea Power Station Development Company has been hit by the slide in the London luxury homes market, where demand has fallen sharply. With reports of secondary sale prices on the site falling as well, it seems another developer is learning that when it comes to Battersea, all that glistens is not gold.

When fairway meets runway

The annual CAPA Airlines in Transition Summit is underway this week in Powerscourt, Co Wicklow, with executives from all over the world attending the event. This year, however, there was no really big global name, or backdrop, to grab the headlines.

Last year, the IAG pursuit of Aer Lingus was in full swing, and Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe was at the summit then to give his tuppence worth on the Irish aviation market.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce was also there in 2015.

This year, former Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Muller was set to attend the event but pulled out last week. He's now the chief executive of Malaysia Airlines, and there's an awful lot going on there to keep him occupied.

But the event itself remains a major opportunity for those in the industry to network and think about big picture stuff, and look at how the sector is evolving.

And never missing a chance to showcase Ireland, today delegates get to play a round of golf before heading home. How civil.

Cameron's Carney tweet

Mark Carney was just getting past the controversy over his comments about the financial risks posed by a  potential British exit from the EU, and then David Cameron took to Twitter.

Just two days ago, some MPs attacked the governor (pictured below) for showing what they said was bias in favour of staying in the EU during a heated parliamentary hearing. One politician from the Euro- skeptic wing of Cameron's Conservative Party, Peter Bone, called on Carney to quit. Cameron yesterday decided to bring it all up again by tweeting the Governor's remarks.

"As Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said, leaving the EU is 'the biggest domestic risk to financial stability'," the prime minister wrote on Twitter yesterday.

Both sides in the debate are looking for trusted independent voices to quote to bolster their position. With these voices in danger of immediate attack from the other side, many figures are trying to stay clear.

Bloomberg quoted Cameron's spokeswoman, Helen Bower, as denying that the prime minister was politicising Carney. "He is reiterating comments that the governor has already chosen to make," she said.

Irish Independent

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