'Billionaire'Seamus Ross and his Scottish castle
WHILE the Anglo trial has been dull in the extreme, it has thrown some beams of light on the wealth of property developers during the boom.
It now appears that at least three property developers were or thought they were billionaires during the boom. Dundrum Shopping Centre developer Joe O'Reilly said that it was "hard to tell" if he was a billionaire; Gannon Homes builder Gerry Gannon said "probably yes" when asked if he was worth up to €1bn; and last week it was the turn of Menolly Homes' Seamus Ross.
The developer agreed that he was a billionaire, having built 16,000 homes during the boom.
The low-key Ross was never particularly flashy. However, one of his more interesting assets was a castle up in the heathery Scottish highlands.
I dug up some mortgage documents that showed Ross had pledged Dalquharran Castle in Ayrshire as security against borrowings from the former Anglo Irish Bank. The ruined castle, built by Robert Adam in 1780, was initially earmarked for major redevelopment as a golf resort, before markets tanked.
The castle project now appears mothballed with little movement on the planning front, according to Scottish local authorities.
The Ross-owned Menolly Homes had also pledged valuable paintings by Irish artists Sean Keating, Donald Tesky and George K Gillespie, all of which were hanging in the company HQ.
Not a Monet or Modigliani in sight. Billionaires these days.
Sunday Indo Business