McNamara scheme gets planning nod
A COMPANY linked to Celtic Tiger builder Bernard McNamara has been given the go-ahead for a €40m-plus development on the site of the well-known Swiss Cottage pub in Santry, north Dublin.
The plans for 110 build-to- rent units are being backed by a company controlled by billionaire Paul Coulson, the chief executive of packaging giant Ardagh.
Mr McNamara was involved in the group that paid €412m for the Irish Glass bottle site in Dublin's Ringsend in 2006.
The site was owned by a company controlled by Mr Coulson.
A company called Cinamol has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the development in Santry. It made the original application for the scheme at the site on behalf of MB McNamara Construction.
That firm is controlled by Mr McNamara and his family.
It's the latest project for Mr McNamara, who has been steadily expanding his involvement in construction activity again following the downturn. He's now involved in house-building projects in Dublin and Drogheda.
A former Fianna Fáil councillor, Mr McNamara was once being billed as one of Ireland's boom-time construction billionaires.
He led a group of investors in the €140m acquisition of Dublin's landmark Shelbourne Hotel in 2004. They spent another €90m refurbishing and extending it. The hotel was sold to US investment firm Kennedy Wilson in 2014.
Mr McNamara went bankrupt in the UK in 2012, with debts of €1.2bn.
He had moved to Britain in 2011 and emerged from that bankruptcy in 2014.
The plans for the site in Santry were opposed by a number of locals.
Among the objectors was Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall.
She complained about the height and scale of the proposed development, and insisted the design was not sensitive to the existing streetscape or surrounding neighbourhoods.
She claimed that the location for the scheme was fundamentally at odds with the criteria that would allow for such a development in a suitable location.
But An Bord Pleanála said that the scale of the development was acceptable given the requirement for housing and the location of the scheme on a key arterial route into the capital. It attached a number of conditions to the scheme.