Business Irish

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Westport House up for sale for €10m

Westport house
Westport house
Westport House generated €50m to the region in 2014.
Westport House
The Morning Room in Westport House.
Lady Sheelyn Browne at Westport House in Co Mayo. Photo: Keith Heneghan
Lord Altmont and wife Jennifer starting out at Westport House in 1962.
Fun and games at Westport House, Co Mayo.
Westport House in Co Mayo
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

One of Mayo's most iconic attractions, Westport House, has been put up for sale with a guide price of €10m after its owners reluctantly decided to sell.

The 18th century mansion sits on 455 acres and currently acts as a tourist attraction with the gardens, its Georgian rooms, and a Pirate Adventure Park all available to tourists.

According to a report in The Irish Times, the estate carries a debt of around €1m and the owners, the Browne family, had previously postponed its sale in the hope the Government might step in.

Ten years ago 380 acres of the estate were put up as a security on a loan of €6.5m as part of plans for further development.

Given the timing, that loan was hit by the recession, which resulted in it being acquired by Nama.

The loan was about to be sold last year as part of the Project Arrow portfolio but it was withdrawn a day before the sale concluded, due to concerns from the locals.

It is understood that negotiations are still continuing between Mayo County Council and Nama to see if the loan security could be purchased by the council.

In October US fund Cerberus was named as preferred bidder for Nama’s Project Arrow, a €6.25bn portfolio of mainly problem property loans bundled up for sale in a single lot

But loans connected to Westport House estate, which locals had lobbied Fine Gael ministers to protect, were pulled from the deal in recent days and are instead set to be bought in a deal backed by the State.  

There had been calls to halt the Nama sale entirely pending the outcome of UK criminal and parliamentary investigations into the fallout from Cerberus’ earlier €1.6bn purchase of Nama’s Northern Ireland loan portfolio – dubbed Project Eagle.

Both Nama and Cerberus denied any wrongdoing.

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