Business Irish

Thursday 23 January 2020

Central Bank may spend €70m on Anglo 'eyesore'

Peter Flanagan

THE Central Bank could end up paying as much as €70m to finish the half-built former Anglo Irish Bank building in Dublin after it agreed a deal to buy the notorious building yesterday.

The Central Bank bought the HQ from the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) for an estimated €8m.

However, it is presently just a shell of a building and will require substantial work to complete it.

The building, considered by many as a tombstone for the Celtic Tiger, was to be used as Anglo's new headquarters.

The sale price is about the same as Anglo had agreed to pay in rent a year to Liam Carroll's Zoe Group who originally starting constructing the office block in 2008.

After the crash, however, work on the building stopped and it has been left as an unfinished shell for the last three years. Anglo has since been renamed Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

Mr Carroll's Zoe Group went into receivership in 2009 and was financed almost exclusively by loans from Anglo itself.

At that time it was estimated it would take some €68m to complete the 230,000sq ft block and bring it up to the required standard.

Both the glass and cladding were custom made and have been lying idle in a German warehouse for over two years.

It is hoped the new occupant will be able to get hold of these materials at a discount. The cladding is priced at around €8m, while an additional €60m would be needed to finish the construction of the site.

That figure may rise however, if additional repair work has to be carried out on the superstructure of the office block, which has been exposed to the elements for the past three years -- far longer than it was designed for.

The deal means the Central Bank may move from part of its iconic offices on Dame Street in Dublin -- but is believed more likely to vacate premises it currently rents on Spencer Dock near the Anglo building.

A spokesman for the Central Bank said "no deal had been finalised" regarding the move.

NAMA is known to have been anxious to get the building sold and completed for some time.

Renting

Bank of New York Mellon was said to be interested in renting the building while the Central Bank's interest has been well known for sometime.

A group of managers who were previously involved with Liam Carroll's Zoe group were also, at one point, one of three parties vying to buy the building.

Speaking at an oireachtas committee last year, NAMA chief executive Brendan McDonagh described the building as an "eyesore and it needs to be dealt with".

Irish Independent

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