Sunday 26 May 2019

Gorey Business Park for sale by online auction

Over 30 tenants were informed of the pending sale last Thursday, with a guide price set at €1.5m

Sara Gahan

Tenants at Gorey Business Park gave a cautious welcome to the news that the bulk of the complex is up for sale. They are also hoping that whoever buys the portfolio will pledge their support to the businesses currently trading there.

Businesses were notified last Thursday that a large portion of the units will be put up for sale at an online auction later this month. Tenants will not be affected by any sale.

A large section of the park went into receivership three years ago when KBC Bank were seeking a €6.2m summary judgement against business park owner Jim Osborne over loans secured on the park.

The public auction will take place online on Wednesday, February 28, at 8 a.m., through selling agent BidX1, with a guide price of €1.5m.

Mr Osborne, who has previously described the building of the park as his life’s work, is ‘hoping the park sells for a good price’, but could not say much more to this newspaper due to legal reasons.

Selling Agent Richard O’Neill from BidX1, Dublin has said ‘the property is being sold as an investment and therefore tenants are unaffected by the sale’.

The large industrial portfolio comprises of 34 industrial units and 10 office units, with 31 of the units tenanted and generating €242,980 annually.

‘We are only in the early stages of auction marketing but we have received a healthy level of interest to date,’ added Mr O’Neill.

The tenants, who currently pay their rent to the receiver from KBC Bank, are concerned at the situation in the park as their businesses are trying to operate as normal, despite the uncertainty.

A recycling centre owned by Wexford County Council at Gorey Business Park is unaffected by the sale.

Gerry Forde, the senior engineer environment at Wexford County Council, said: ‘We have a recycling centre there which is owned by Wexford County Council, we understand that parts of the business park are in private ownership and parts are in receivership,’ said Mr Forde.

Paul Walsh of East Coast Hunting and Shooting said he is hoping the new owner will support the businesses there.

Anton Clancy of MyFitt said: ‘I hope whoever does buy it supports the businesses and looks after the place and put some time and effort into it, which has not been done before.

‘The place can’t get any worse here anyway,’ added Anton.

KidZone, which has been in operation by Veronica Clancy for 10 years, said she hopes whoever the new owner is that they do not move the businesses out of there.

‘They should support the businesses here and take the time to put a bit of effort into the place,’ said Veronica. ‘It needs to be re-done. It would be nice to have someone to call on for those things.’

CEO of Gorey Chamber Diarmuid Devereux said his main concern is for the wellbeing of the businesses.

‘We don’t know what the next affect of the sale is going to be,’ said Mr Devereux. ‘It is not fair tenants are left in the dark either. We shall see how it all pans out.’

Local councillor Malcolm Byrne says he’s optimistic that if a new owner goes in to develop it, it will be good news.

‘My main concern is to ensure that existing business and jobs are protected,’ said Cllr Byrne.

A receiver was sent into Gorey Business Park in early December 2015, when it emerged that KBC Bank were seeking a €6.2 million summary judgement against Mr Osborne over loans secured on the park.

Mr Osborne claimed at the time the business park was extremely viable with an occupancy rate of almost 100 per cent.

Mr Osborne also claimed at a previous hearing that the bank and its project managers failed to do their work professionally, which led to a fire officer coming in. Some of the buildings in the park were closed by order in 2013, and Mr Osborne had to pay €1.2m to put matters right.

The bank claimed that despite a rental income of just over €600,000 a year, just €25,500 was paid to the them in 2014. Mr Osborne maintained that the application by the bank was part of an enforcement strategy and that the value of the asset was being maintained, as long as the park remained open.

Businesses at the park employ up to 400 people.

Gorey Guardian