| 19.8°C Dublin

Dalymount Park embroiled in latest NAMA property grab

THE National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) has taken control of part of Bohemian's home, Dalymount Park.

The State's bad bank has taken over part of the terrace at the Phibsboro end of the football stadium, owned by Pascal Conroy's Albion property company.

It brings the value of the property that NAMA has on the open market past €1bn.

The site has been the subject of huge controversy in recent years, and was the subject of a major court case in 2008.

Albion bought the section as part of the company's plan to develop its Phibsboro Shopping Centre behind the stadium in 2003.

As part of that deal, Bohemians sold the terrace to Albion and in exchange Albion would make a cash payment and build corporate boxes for the football club.

That deal however turned sour and the club went on to sell the entire ground to Liam Carroll's Danninger Group in 2006 for some €65m.

Albion, however, objected to the sale, claiming they still owned the section they bought in 2003. The dispute ended up in the courts, and Mr Conroy's company won the case in November 2008.

The case effectively killed off any hope the club had of cashing in on their ground with Danninger, a deal that would have seen the company pay Bohemians more than €40m in cash and build a purpose-built stadium near the M50 at Harristown.

Dalymount itself now has a patchwork of owners. Albion owned part of the terrace at the Phibsboro end of the ground, while a €4m debt to Zurich Bank is secured against the carpark..

The seizure of part of Dalymount is the 'highlight' of the latest round of new properties subject to enforcement action by NAMA in March. Apart from the football ground, the 44 sites include the former Irish Glass Bottle Site in Ringsend in Dublin, which became the poster site of the property boom.

Becbay Limited, whose shareholders include developer Bernard McNamara, financier Derek Quinlan and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, paid €412m for it in 2006.

The seizure of the site was widely expected after NAMA put Becbay into receivership and the site is ultimately expected to be sold for a fraction of the price it was bought for. Becbay placed a carrying value of only €30m on the site in 2009, according to the company's most recent accounts.

NAMA also took control of Quintin Castle, a Norman castle in Co Down.

The castle was reputedly built by the Anglo-Norman knight John de Courcy in 1194 and is now one of the few major castles still occupied by private individuals.

It has had several owners through the years but its current owner is believed to be the Northern Irish property developer Paul O'Neill, who bought it in 2006.

Mr Neill had a large property portfolio in the north east but the then Anglo Irish Bank moved against him last year, and took control of two retail parks in Bangor over debts of some €45m.

NAMA has now taken action against nearly 1,200 properties, and has more than €1bn worth of property on the market.

Irish Independent