Monday 19 March 2018

NAMA reveals plans to sell off office blocks in 'stimulus' move

Mark Keenan Peter Flanagan and Michael Brennan

THE National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) has outlined a series of major new construction development initiatives worth hundreds of millions as part of a "circle of stimulus".

NAMA also said it is going to sell one of the biggest office parks in Dublin, as it starts to sell down its main offices.

It comes as the Government has promised to avoid a repeat of the "property bubble" by facilitating the construction of more houses in the Dublin area.

NAMA is going to sell Central Park business park in Leopardstown – which was part of the bust property empire of developers Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett – for about €200m.

The property portfolio includes five office blocks and 282 apartments. Some of the highest-profile companies in the country occupy Central Park including Vodafone, Bank of America and Tullow Oil.

The agency has hired the estate agents Jones Lang LaSalle to sell Central Park business park, and is expecting strong interest from overseas investors.

At the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) conference in the Aviva Stadium yesterday, Nama chairman Frank Daly said the agency was also about to launch a number of new construction projects.

This includes the redevelopment of The Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght, where Nama is in the process of acquiring the car park from the South Dublin Council.

The organisation will soon be lodging planning permission for the redevelopment scheme, which it estimates will generate at least 300 construction jobs.


A similar revamp is being planned for Northside Shopping Centre in Coolock.

While Nama has plans for the commercial sector, economists are warning that strong demand for family homes in Dublin is causing the market to overheat – with a 10pc jump in prices over the past year.

But the Government is promising action to avoid the creation of another property bubble in the capital.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that a healthy building sector was needed to provide quality housing options for young families.

"What we need to do now is to put in place a progressive and effective set of measures which will grow the construction sector in a way that is not going to create a bubble situation," he said.

There is currently planning permission for 12,000 new housing units in the capital – including 4,000 in strategically zoned areas with ready access to schools and public transport.

But a government source warned that it would not be sustainable to concentrate entirely on building the four-bed family homes that many families and developers want.

"There always has to be a mixed approach to development. We are looking at more sustainable development and it can't just be supply to meet demand," he said.

It means that large apartments and townhouses will be granted permission, as well as traditional three and four-bed detached and semi-detached homes.

Goodbody Stockbrokers has blamed the rapidly rising prices in Dublin on the lack of supply.

It said that there were just 1,266 houses completed in Dublin last year, compared with almost 20,000 at the height of the property bubble.

And so far this year, just 761 new houses have been completed in the capital.

Irish Independent

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