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Mellon progresses sales in Ireland and Wales

Developer Niall Mellon is making considerable progress in the disposal of a number of properties he owns in Ireland and Wales, which are included in the memorandum of understanding that he has signed with NAMA.

His agents, Colliers, have exchanged contracts for the sale of his 242-acre Coolmore Estate in Co Kilkenny for around €3.25m.

In the last 12 months, he has sold 50 apartments in the Meridian Quay development in Swansea, Wales. This brings to 241 the sales in the 291-unit development.

"We did not panic when the market ground to a halt and maintained our prices and even managed to sell one of them for £1m. which just goes to show what can be done," he explains. Prices are also unchanged in the remaining units ranging between £150,000 and £500,000.

The proceeds of Coolmore will go to NAMA and Mr Mellon and his wife have also surrendered their Cedarmount home in Mount Anville to the state agency.

He has also commissioned Colliers to sell his 12.4-acre Marlay Grange House property in south Dublin in the next few weeks and hopes it will generate about €3.5m.

"We've had a number of enquiries already for the property, which is also included in our NAMA business plan."

Mr Mellon, who is best known for his Niall Mellon Township Trust that built thousands of houses for the poor in South Africa, bought the Marlay property from the British Embassy in 2008.

But two years after his purchase, it was destroyed by fire and was not insured.

Mr Mellon has welcomed what he considers a change in NAMA's attitude towards developers. "They realise that not everyone needs to be put in receivership.

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"But they also need to incentivise people with expertise to make the most of the properties in NAMA's portfolio and these include developers who can maximise asset values."

However, he will have no say in what NAMA does with his Cedarmount home.

"I know they are painting it at the moment and perhaps they may rent it out," he says.

He believes that he and other developers have the capacity to work through the current difficulties.

"I developed an office block in Scotland in 2001 and my timing was considered misfortunate because it coincided with the 9/11 attack on skyscrapers.

"But within three years it was fully let and within five years it won an award."

He sold it in 2007 for around £80m.

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