Wednesday 13 December 2017

NAMA to sell London site as UK deals are sped up

Michael Fingleton. Photo: Frank McGrath
Michael Fingleton. Photo: Frank McGrath

Tara Fitzsimons

NAMA is bringing a block of land outside London to market as it continues to divest its UK portfolio.

The bad bank has appointed CBRE to bring to market a 42.1 acre site in Taplow in South Buckinghamshire, about an hour outside London.

The site is being offered for sale on behalf of Malcolm Cohen and Shay Bannon of BDO acting as joint administrators of Watchword Limited which is in administration.

Irish Nationwide appointed BDO as receiver at the site in 2009 in an effort to recover some loans worth £40m on the development.

From there the loans against the site were ultimately transferred to Nama, apparently at a discount of more than 70pc.

Situated on the banks of the River Thames and Jubilee River, the triangular site is home to the former Skindles hotel which is said to have been a venue for rock bands, most notably Thin Lizzy in the Seventies.

OPTION

It also features a boat yard, a former paper mill, a vacant warehouse site and three period houses, Mill Island House, the Dunloe Lodge and the Grade-two listed Glen Island House.

The sale was first reported by property website CoStar.

The planned deal comes after an option lapsed for Barratt Homes to pursue a development of the site alongside National Grid, which owns adjoining land, to create a joint 57-acre scheme.

Barratt agreed an option with receiver BDO two years ago to buy the majority of the land – the St Regis Paper Mill site element – where there have been long-term plans for a huge development including offices, a hotel and tennis courts.

Developer Towntalk paid £30.25m (€35.7m) for the site in 2006 and planned to develop it, but met with stiff local opposition at the time.

A comprehensive development brief was adopted by South Bucks in July 2013 and envisages a major resi-led project and a luxury hotel led makeover of the Skindles hotel.

CBRE's Jasper Masters told CoStar the property was a "truly exceptional opportunity".

"The site has great potential and subject to necessary consents, will allow for a residential scheme of houses and apartments, in addition to an element of space dedicated for commercial use.

"Ideally located in a tranquil setting adjacent to the River Thames, the regeneration of Mill Lane is set to complement the extensive river views and access to large areas of picturesque greenbelt spaces that this site provides.Taplow is already well served with transport connections providing direct rail links to Central London taking just under 40 minutes; this is set to further benefit with the completion of Crossrail in 2019," he added.

Sunday Independent

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