Business Irish

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Central Bank agrees to buy half-finished Anglo HQ from NAMA for €7m Business Desk and Press Association reporters

THE CENTRAL Bank has agreed to buy the half-finished headquarters of toxic lender Anglo-Irish Bank from the National Management Asset Agency (NAMA) for €7m.

The eight-storey empty shell in the Dublin docklands - branded a Celtic Tiger tombstone - is being sold off as part of efforts to clear bad debts from the main banks.

The Central Bank has signed the heads of a deal with NAMA – the agency designed to purge the banks of developer loans.

The sealed-off site, now home to the huge grey skeleton, was once valued at €250m but has been on the market with NAMA.

It is understood that both Facebook and major finance house BNY Mellon had expressed an interest in the property, but that a deal between Nama and the Central Bank was done in the end.

The site, overlooking the north quay of Dublin's docklands and bordering the IFSC, was bought by publicity shy developer Liam Carroll, one of the biggest and first names to go bust in the recession.

His Zoe Developments group entered into liquidation in 2009 with debts of 1.3 billion euro and Judge Peter Kelly would later remark how the shell - as much a tourist attraction as a reminder of the property crash - was a "fitting tombstone to the Celtic Tiger".

Anglo, now the IBRC, agreed to take what would have been a landmark building while other Irish banks were understood to have been considering renting space for some back office operations.

Before the agreement, one other suggested use for the seven-acre site was to turn it into a "true national asset" by creating a vertical park within its cement walls and floors.

The radical proposal, The Trees on the Quays, had been proposed by architect Paschal Mahoney with the aim of having it ready for the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Commenting on the deal, NAMA chief executive Brendan McDonagh said: “We’re delighted with the deal that has been concluded with the Central Bank of Ireland and we are very happy with the price secured for the asset.”

He added that NAMA, working with the receivers, had prioritised the sale of the asset for the past 18 months and had engaged with a number of interested parties.

“ We are very happy now to have concluded the process and look forward to the Central Bank completing the building which will greatly enhance the whole landscape of the Dublin Docklands.”

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