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Thursday 23 February 2017

Nama eyes David Daly's luxury bling properties

Agency aims to recover massive €457m from multi-millionaire developer and family, writes Ronald Quinlan

AN attempt by developer David Daly and his children to prevent Nama from appointing a receiver to properties they own in Dublin and London has failed.

Sources close to the case in which Nama is looking to recover a massive €457m have informed the Sunday Independent that even as lawyers for the multi-millionaire developer went into the High Court last Friday seeking to prevent the State agency from putting in a receiver, Jim Hamilton of BDO Simpson Xavier was already being appointed by Nama. That process is understood to have been completed by close of business last Friday evening.

Commenting on the matter, one informed source remarked: "There appears to be some confusion, but it should be cleared up when this comes before the High Court on Monday. Rather than try to prevent the receiver being appointed, Mr Daly's lawyers will now have to apply to have him withdrawn."

In a separate but related move, Nama is seeking to appoint Shay Bannon and Sarah Rayment of BDO in Britain as receivers to two high-profile properties Mr Daly owns on London's Bond Street, one of which is occupied by the iconic Louis Vuitton store and another which up until recently was occupied by the high-end fashion retailer Mulberry.

Should Nama manage to fend off Mr Daly's efforts to have its receivers removed from his properties, some highly profitable sales could follow, at least in London, where the State agency has already indicated its intentions to offload as much property as it can over the next three years.

Indeed, according to London commercial property experts, the 20,000sq ft Louis Vuitton premises, which Mr Daly owns personally, could be worth anything up to £200m (€225m) were it to be put on the market now.

The northside-based developer created the highly valuable premises by first buying the original Louis Vuitton building at 17/18 New Bond Street for £70m (€78.75m), and then combining it with 19/20 New Bond Street, which he acquired for £60m (€67.5m). Both acquisitions were financed with mortgages from AIB. There is no indication given, however, of the amounts borrowed.

While any proposed sale of Mr Daly's New Bond Street properties would undoubtedly be met with serious interest from venture capitalists around the world and cash-rich sovereign wealth funds keen for a slice of prime London property, the low-key developer's Dublin portfolio would be a harder sell given the implosion of the Irish economy.

Meanwhile, Mr Daly and his family own the River Island store on Grafton Street, Dublin, 87 St Stephen's Green (where the Garda Inspectorate is based), as well as the Airside retail park in Swords.

Separate to those assets over which Nama has appointed a receiver, Mr Daly also owns the Franklin House office block in Ballsbridge as well as a row of immaculately-restored period houses opposite the US Embassy on Pembroke Road. In a 2006 deal which drew gasps in banking and property circles both here and abroad, Mr Daly paid another Malahide-based developer, Gerry Gannon, €25m for Franklin House -- the equivalent of a record €133m an acre.

Since acquiring Franklin House, Mr Daly has been beset by a combination of planning objections from local residents (including most notably businessman Dermot Desmond), the crippling effects of the economic downturn and the glut of Dublin office space that has resulted from it.

Notwithstanding his multimillion euro investments into London's high-class shopping thoroughfares and equally costly boom-era speculation in Dublin, the soft-spoken developer, who is a quantity surveyor by profession, has to date -- unlike some other Nama clients -- managed to avoid the limelight.

Indeed, even at the peak of Ireland's property bubble, friends of Mr Daly say the greatest indulgence he allowed himself was the Bentley car he bought in 2007.

While those kind of wheels typically cost in the region of €250,000 during the boom, Mr Daly's extravagance is said to have been the subject of some mirth among other members of Ireland's developer class, where private jets and helicopters were frequently employed to help beat traffic on the country's roads.

Otherwise, the media-averse property magnate is said to enjoy going for seaside walks in Malahide, and in Marbella where he has his holiday retreat.

When at home, Mr Daly is said by friends to enjoy going for an occasional pint in Gibney's pub in Malahide, the village where his wife Mary still runs her own boutique, Sans Souci. According to a posting put up on the shop's Facebook page at 4.22am yesterday, Mrs is currently offering customers a 50 per cent discount on selected items.

While a spokesman for Nama declined to make any comment on the case when contacted by the Sunday Independent yesterday, it is understood that the agency is unhappy with Mr Daly's proposed business plan detailing how he and his family intend to pay down the €457m they owe on loans taken with the AIB.

Last Friday, Michael Cush SC for David, Joanne and Paul Daly told the High Court that it was their contention that they were meeting all their obligations in relation to their loans, but Nama had taken the view that these were loan facilities that were repayable upon demand, and as such could be called in at any time.

The court heard that the agency had issued its demand for repayment last Wednesday and given the Dalys until the close of business the following day to make a full repayment.

Sources close to the case say they expect the family's lawyers to ask the High Court tomorrow to withdraw the receiver appointed by Nama last Friday evening.

It is also anticipated that the Dalys will seek a declaration from the court that the credit facilities they received from the AIB on their original loan facilities in July 2007 and February 2008, which had been transferred to Nama, are not repayable on demand.

They are also expected to seek a declaration that Nama's decision to demand immediate repayment of their loans is unreasonable, disproportionate and contrary to their constitutional rights and an improper exercise of its powers.

All of the properties involved in the Dalys' dispute with Nama are held by the developer and his family and are in no way related to their residential construction company, Albany Homes, which built thousands of houses and apartments across Dublin during the boom years.

Sunday Independent

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