Business Irish

Sunday 21 January 2018

Kavanagh hits back at Ronan in docklands block planning row

Developer Greg Kavanagh. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Developer Greg Kavanagh. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Johnny Ronan

Gordon Deegan

Developer Greg Kavanagh has hit back at Johnny Ronan's Chambury Investments in a row over a planned seven-storey apartment block in Dublin's Docklands.

Earlier this year, Mr Kavanagh - through his Balark Investments vehicle - lodged plans for the apartment block.

It comprises of 91 apartments - 14 of which are three-bedroom apartments - on St John Rogerson's Quay.

Kavanagh's New Generation Homes paid €42m for the so-called Hickey site in Dublin's Docklands. A number of objections have been lodged against the proposal.

Consultants for Ronan's Chambury Investments claim that the planning application is invalid, cannot be permitted and is wholly at variance with the Special Development Zone (SDZ) Planning Scheme.

The consultants also state that the application has been made without the consent of the freehold owner, Chambury Investment Co Ltd, of lots 3, 5 and 7.

The objection says Chambury Investments' part-ownership of the total site area totals 20pc, "is substantial and cannot be ignored".

The consultants state that as no appeal is available in the case, in the event of planning permission being granted, the only remedy available to Chambury would be an immediate application to the High Court for judicial review of any such decision.

However, in new documents lodged with the City Council, two barristers, Paul Coughlan and Declan McGrath, retained by Balark, state Chambury's freehold titles to Lots 3, 5 and 7 are encumbered by relevant long leases held by Balark.

The barristers argue: "While those leases exist, Chambury has no right to possession of the demised premises and it is Balark that has dominion over them."

The joint counsel opinion adds: "There is no legal basis for the contention that the holder of a long leasehold interest cannot apply for planning permission without the consent of the freehold owner."

The consultants for Balark, Simon Clear and Associates, state that the Balark is the 'owner' of the site within the meaning of the Planning Act and "there is no requirement to identify the interest or obtain the consent of any other person".

In lodging the plans for the development, Mr Kavanagh is seeking to capitalise on the booming market for commercial property in Dublin by providing city centre homes for workers who may be employed in the new office developments.

A presentation on the commercial property sector made before a board meeting of Nama reported that one third of 26 schemes under construction in Dublin comprising of 318,000 square feet had been pre-let.

The presentation reported that prime headline rents are projected to reach their peak at €70 per sq ft in 2017 and revert to €55 per square foot by 2020.

The presentation states that it was unlikely that all of the supply pipeline currently projected to come on stream in 2018/19 would in fact be delivered on time.

The Nama board members were told at their March meeting that the vacancy rates for commercial office space in Dublin for 2016 was projected to be 8.7pc. The significant office development in Dublin was being undertaken with virtually no speculative funding and a preponderance of joint ventures and forward funding projects.

Irish Independent

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