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Ballymore Group seeks planning for massive London development

SEAN Mulryan's Ballymore Group has applied for planning permission for a massive new London development including 3,500 apartments and houses, and a new "high street and town square".

The planning application, which is likely to involve an investment of several hundred million euro, comes weeks after Ballymore agreed a business plan with NAMA.

A spokesman for Ballymore didn't respond to queries on whether NAMA had agreed to fund the new London development, dubbed 'Minoco', while a spokesman for NAMA also declined to comment.

It is understood, however, the state loans agency would be likely to at least co-fund Minoco, since the development is in a prime area of London.

NAMA has already advanced about €280m in working capital to developers with projects in the UK, and the agency has ample headroom to extend further working capital to viable developments.

In a statement, Ballymore said the development detailed in yesterday's planning application could be a "catalyst for the whole area" of Minoco Wharf.

Ballymore owns about 70 acres around Minoco; the application covers the first 41 acres of that site.

Ballymore said it hoped to begin marketing the scheme "toward the end of 2011".

The first units should be occupied by 2013.


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The application describes plans for "3,500 residential units in a rich mix of houses, mansion blocks and apartments".

Ballymore has traditionally been known for high-end apartment developments. A spokes-man didn't respond to queries on whether the Minoco development would be scaled back for post-recession England.

Other elements of the scheme include "shops, doctors, dentists, cafes, restaurants, a nursery school, a primary school and a community hall", centred around a new high street.

The site is located about 10 minutes from Canary Wharf and five minutes from London City Airport. It also benefits from the new 'Enterprise Zone' designation with simplified planning rules, super-fast broadband and tax breaks for businesses.

One of NAMA's 10 largest clients, Ballymore prides itself on being "different" from other Irish developers because of its heavy focus on projects overseas.

Developments on the drawing board include a mixed retail, office and entertainment complex in Berlin and several other projects in Britain.

Despite its diversification away from embattled Ireland, Ballymore's most recently filed accounts showed heavy losses at several of its companies.

UK-based Ballymore Properties Ltd lost £223.8m (€256.7m) in the year to March 2010 and closed the year with debts of £650m.

Irish-based Ballymore Residential made pretax losses of €45.9m over the same period.

It's difficult to get a complete picture of the Ballymore Group as its ultimate holding company is unlimited and does not have to file detailed financial statements.

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