Friday 24 November 2017

€90m resort for sale at just €20m

Some of the lodges at Fota Island Golf Resort.
Some of the lodges at Fota Island Golf Resort.
The luxury pool in the spa and leisure centre.

Donal Buckley

DEVELOPED for an estimated €90m, Fota Island Golf Resort in Cork is being offered for sale by NAMA's receiver for less than a quarter of its cost.

The five-star hotel and 500-acre property was considered the jewel in the crown of developer John Fleming's group but in 2010 he was one of the first Irish developers to avail of the UK's more lenient bankruptcy laws to sort out his debts of over €1bn.

Last November he was discharged from his bankruptcy.

Now NAMA is selling the resort, which hosted the 2001 and 2002 Irish Open tournaments. It can be bought in two lots or in its entirety. One of the lots includes the hotel, formerly known as Fota Island Sheraton, along with its three golf courses and the leisure centre which could fetch €15m. The other lot consists of the 59 unsold lodges which are expected to sell for about €5m to one buyer.

Fleming Group bought the original golf course in 2004 from the Killeen Group, owned by the O'Mahony family, the Toyota car distributors.

In 2006 Fleming invited former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to open the newly-built hotel for which he signed up-market international chain Sheraton as the operator. However when NAMA took over Fleming Group loans it appointed PWC's Billy O'Riordan as receiver and he appointed local managers to run the business. According to Marcus Magnier of Colliers, the estate agents for the receiver, the hotel and golf course is operating quite profitably and expected to increase its turnover to €11.5m this year.

A popular venue for weddings and corporate hospitality, the hotel's accommodation includes two restaurants, bars, conferencing facilities, a ballroom, 131 bedrooms including eight suites and a state-of-the-art leisure centre and spa with a 18-metre pool.

Golfers have a choice of three challenging courses -- the par 71 Deer Park, par 72 Belvelly and par 73 Barryscourt. The modern clubhouse which was remodelled recently is designed to cater for the needs of the club membership, whilst at the same time facilitating smaller events.

The resort also has 120 houses, of which 61 have been sold and the remaining 59 are now for sale in a range of conditions.

Slashed

At the peak of the market, these could have sold from €450,000 for three bedroom terraced units to €1.5m for the 2,500sq ft detached lodges.

A few of these currently are in showhouse condition, 36 are in need of finishing and nine are in shell condition.

Consequently the agents have not priced them individually but if they were to sell for a job lot of €5m this would value them at an average of €84,750 each. While they will appeal to a developer, they cannot be sold as principal private homes as they must be let-out as holiday homes which can only be occupied for a maximum of six months at a time.

Fota is the second Cork golf resort currently being sold by receiver Mr O'Riordan. He is also selling the Blarney Golf Resort for which he has slashed the asking price from €15m to €7m.

Fota Golf resort shares Fota Island with Fota Wildlife Park and arboretum, one of Ireland's top 10 visitor attractions and so this adds to the numbers passing the entrance to the hotel each year.

Irish Independent

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