Friday 24 November 2017

Crosbie firm sues Dunnes in store dispute

Aodhan O'Faolain

A COMPANY belonging to businessman Harry Crosbie is suing Dunnes Stores over its failure to fit out an anchor store at Dublin's Point Village.

The case in the High Court arises from agreements entered into in February 2008 between Dunnes and Point Village Developments (PVD) for the building and operation of a flagship store at the site.

The agreements originally involved Dunnes paying €46m, plus VAT, for certain works.

A number of disputes arose between the parties and High Court proceedings were started.

However, the issues were resolved following a settlement agreement of July 2010, which resulted in a series of variations to the original agreement including the €46m sum being reduced to €31m.

Since then, however, the parties have disagreed over the interpretation of part of the 2010 settlement that relates to the commencement date of the fitting out of the anchor store by Dunnes.

PVD wants the court to order Dunnes to specifically perform the part of the settlement agreement that relates to the fitting-out. Dunnes is opposing the action and rejects any allegation that it has failed to abide by the terms of the 2010 settlement agreement.

Opening the case yesterday, Michael Collins, appearing with Declan McGrath, for PVD, said the court was effectively being asked to interpret a clause of the July 2010 settlement agreement.

Anchor

Counsel said that the relevant clause in that agreement required Dunnes to have completed the fit-out of the anchor store some 26 weeks after a Certificate of Practical Completion had been issued in respect of the building.

Dunnes contends that it was not obliged to start fitting out the store until at least seven other tenants had been acquired for the development, which they say had not been done.

Dunnes, represented by Brian O'Moore, also claims PVD failed to have the adjoining Point Square development completed by a certain date, as had also been agreed in the July 2010 settlement.

The action is one of a number of cases between the parties arising out of the development.

PVD and Mr Crosbie, in January 2009, issued proceedings against Dunnes seeking payment of monies allegedly owed under the agreement but those proceedings were settled in April 2009.

Dunnes also sued PVD and Mr Crosbie, arguing it was entitled to rescind the 2008 agreement due to the alleged abandonment of the defendant's plans to build a 102-metre high "Watchtower" and the "U2 Experience".

Those proceedings were settled in November 2010.

The case continues.

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