Business Irish

Monday 20 November 2017

Developer with a taste for yachts and cars

Avid yachtsman and vintage car lover Michael Cotter's company was once one of the biggest homebuilders in south Dublin. Now it continues to be loss-making and dependent on the taxpayer via NAMA, its latest accounts show.

As part of a consortium with building group Sisk, Mr Cotter's Park Developments took on a massive €300m marina development around Greystones Harbour (right).

Work ground to a halt as the property market collapsed.

Years later, the development is still a work in progress and has been a source of significant local dissatisfaction.

An enthusiastic sailor, Mr Cotter's €1m yacht 'Whisper' has been a regular feature of racing events around the Caribbean and on the Mediterranean.

Last year, the 80ft cruiser raced the seas off the islands of St Barts and Antigua, taking part in major regattas in these playgrounds of the wealthy. Back at home in Foxrock, a 1,700 sq ft garage to house a collection of classic cars was being completed.

In boom times, Park Developments was notable as the seller of the first €1m-plus price tag homes in Dublin.

While losses have narrowed massively at the company, from €38.4m to €844,300 after tax last year, its parent company was operating to a NAMA-agreed plan, its latest accounts disclose, and dependent on the toxic bank for survival.

Last year, Mr Cotter and building magnate John Sisk shelved their plans for a €30m yacht club investment in the South of France.

In a more unusual development venture, Mr Cotter recently resubmitted planning proposals for a graveyard at Kilternan in south Dublin.

He had previously had an application refused by An Bord Pleanala.

A Labour Court hearing in 2011 was told that the company had "very serious financial difficulties which were brought about due to the significant reduction in its business" and said it was "struggling to survive".

ROISIN BURKE

Irish Independent

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