Tuesday 23 December 2014

Plain sailing for 'Nama developer' Cotter in Caribbean as marina lies in limbo back home

RONALD QUINLAN and ROISIN BURKE

Published 08/04/2012 | 05:00

CLEAR BLUE WATERS: Mr Cotter, and his yacht 'Whisper', above, currently moored
in the Caribbean
CLEAR BLUE WATERS: Mr Cotter, and his yacht 'Whisper', above, currently moored in the Caribbean

A spot of sailing in the Caribbean while a team of builders puts the finishing touches to a new garage big enough for 12 cars at one's mansion in Foxrock.

It probably isn't what Nama chairman Frank Daly had in mind when he vowed that the developers on the bad bank's books would be forced to adjust to what he called the new realities.

But it's exactly what Park Developments chief Michael Cotter has been busying himself with as his company waits for news from Nama on funding for the completion of phase two of the new marina at Greystones harbour.

While residents of the north Wicklow town look out at a derelict site where the marina's facilities were supposed to be, Mr Cotter has been taking in the clear blue waters off the Caribbean island of St Bart's from the deck of his €1m yacht, Whisper, while workers at his home on Westminster Road have only recently finished off a 1,700 sq ft building for his collection of cars.

Mr Cotter's 12-car garage comes equipped with its own under-floor heating, which motoring experts say would have been installed to ensure the interiors of his vehicles are maintained at a constant temperature. Quite apart from the accommodation it provides to the Park Developments chief's four-wheeled friends, the recently completed building has additional space for the ". . .applicant's hobby of restoration", according to plans lodged with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

Not that Mr Cotter will be entertaining anyone at his Foxrock home or in his substantial garage this weekend given that he is on his yacht in the Caribbean, having just competed in the Les Voiles de Saint Barth regatta.

Back in Dublin, the developer's home improvements are understood to have been the talk of his fellow members at Foxrock Golf Club in recent weeks given their visibility from the historic course.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, one club member remarked upon the scale of the works carried out at Mr Cotter's house over the past year, saying: "It's been a hive of activity in there. Apart from the new parking garage, he's just had his tennis court refurbished and a yacht delivered only last week. Don't get me wrong now. Nobody here's begrudging Michael. He's a member here after all."

To give the members of Foxrock Golf Club their due, their loyalty to each other is laudable. Indeed, none of those who spoke to this newspaper had an unkind word to say about either Mr Cotter, or Castlethorn chief Joe O'Reilly, another Nama developer who has just been admitted as a member.

But while the works on Mr Cotter's home might have given his fellow golfers something to gossip about, they certainly won't be viewed in such a light-hearted fashion by the residents of Greystones.

Work on phase two of the town's new marina, in which Park Developments is involved in the Sispar consortium with Sisk, remains at a standstill owing to a lack of available funding for its completion. While Sispar had its loans transferred to Nama in 2010, it is understood that the loans associated with the development at Greystones harbour are being serviced in full and on time.

Park Developments, however, would still appear to be experiencing financial difficulties despite being able to service its debt obligations. Indeed, in a Labour Court hearing late last year, the company said it had "very serious financial difficulties brought about due to the significant reduction in its business" and said it was "struggling to survive".

Sunday Independent

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