Tuesday 20 February 2018

NAMA to have final say on fate of historic mill site


Emmet Oliver, Deputy Business Editor

NAMA will have the final say over what happens to one of Dublin's most recognised and historic buildings, Bolands Mill, in south Dublin, with the property downturn leaving earlier plans for the site in disarray.

The Irish Independent understands NAMA has taken possession of all the loans behind the site and is studying a business plan submitted by its developer Sean Kelly, a former executive with Ballymore, Sean Mulryan's group.

The site, which is associated with the 1916 Rising, was scheduled for a high-profile redevelopment, involving 67 apartments, two houses and 13,284 square metres of office space, but the entire project has stalled and NAMA has been left with the problem of finding a use for the area, or simply sitting on the site until the market recovers.

The site is located at Grand Canal Canal Dock in Dublin 4 and covers about 1.73 acres.

The company behind the site, which is derelict, submitted a plan to NAMA in April and a decision may be taken soon. The site is near Barrow Street, where Google recently bought buildings from developer Treasury Holdings.

The original backer of the site was Anglo Irish Bank, which lent its money to a company called Versus Limited, trading as Bolands Mill Development Company.

According to Farrell Grant Sparks, the company's auditors, it incurred losses of €31.3m during the year ended September 30, 2009.

The bank loans provided to the company are "on demand", meaning they can be called in at any time by NAMA. The agency declined to comment yesterday, saying it never commented on specific projects or loans.

The balance sheet shows the value of the site falling from €38m to €9.9m by the end of September, leaving the company with shareholders' funds in deficit to the tune of €60.7m, according to accounts recently lodged in the Companies Registration Office.

The parent company of Versus Limited, Benton Property Holdings, went into receivership in October 2010. Versus owes Benton €15.8m.

According to accounts recently filed by Versus, the collapse in the property market is the main reason for the problems at the site.

"As a result of the collapse in tenant demand, the over supply of office space in Dublin and the lack of available credit to finance property developments, the project to develop the stock asset has stalled," the accounts state.

Although a protected structure, ironically Eamon de Valera did not actually command his 1916 forces from the site, instead using nearby Bolands Biscuit Mill, which is nearby.

Bolands was one of the biggest employers in south Dublin, particularly offering jobs to those in the Ringsend area.

Meanwhile, Ballymore yesterday signalled it planned to sell a hotel in London's Canary Wharf. The Radisson Hotel was trading well, said Ballymore, but a sale had been initiated to bring down the company's debt levels.

Irish Independent

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