Developer Johnny Ronan’s Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) has secured a second temporary injunction against its US joint venture partner Digital Bridge, formerly Colony Capital.
The High Court move prevents, for now, Digital Bridge selling its stakes in three property developments jointly owned with RGRE to US investment management firm Fortress Investment Group.
The sites include two of the biggest office developments ever in Ireland; a tower in Dublin’s docklands for US tech giant Salesforce and a campus in Dublin 4 for Facebook’s new European headquarters, as well as Waterfront South Central, a complex of more than 1,000 planned apartments and commercial premises.
On Tuesday, at an earlier hearing, the High Court granted an interlocutory injunction stopping Colony having receivers appointed to sites over what the US investor says is an overdue debt of €317m.
The injunctions now in place means both sides are deadlocked until a Commercial Court action to decide on the issues, or they can come to a mutual agreement on the next moves.
In court in Tuesday RGRE argued that appointing receivers over its sites could have “catastrophic” consequences for developments with a gross value of more than €1bn.
The Digital Bridge side argued that loans to the project had fallen due in September.
In the background of the actions is a planned sale by Digital Bridge of billions of euro of property globally to Fortress, the Irish sites are part of that and it would therefore change the make up of the joint ventures that own the Irish developments.
Ronan Group says it has a South African consortium in place as an alternative buyer for the developments under a deal struck last December.
In an affidavit referenced in court in Tuesday, Rory Williams, CEO of Ronan Group Real Estate, said it wanted to restrain Digital Bridge’s actions until December 31, 2021, by which time it expected to put in place a pre-letting of a substantial part of the Waterfront development to a multi-national tenant.
He said there would be catastrophic consequences for the developments if that did not happen.
In the meantime work on all of the sites has continued.
On Friday a spokesperson for RGRE said it now hopes the South African deal will go ahead.