Friday 24 November 2017

€500,000 shortfall costs Dublin GAA NAMA site at Spawell

The Spawell Complex which is for sale
The Spawell Complex which is for sale
The Spawell Complex which is for Sale. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 17/6/2015
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Dublin's plans to purchase the landmark Spawell site on the city's southside for development as a GAA complex were foiled by just €500,000 - the cost of 6,250 All-Ireland final tickets.

It had been reported that the GAA's offer for the 35-acre site in Templeogue was just €100,000 short of the eventual selling price, but sources close to the deal insist that it was around five times that amount.

That's still a relatively small amount for a property which, if acquired by Dublin GAA, would have enabled them to erect a 25,000-capacity stadium, as well as installing synthetic and grass pitches and various other complementary facilities.

The prime site, located just off the M50, went on sale for an asking price of €6.5m. It's understood that Dublin remained in the bidding process until it exceeded the €8.5m mark.

Dessie Kilkenny of Savills, who conducted the sale on behalf of Grant Thornton, the receivers appointed by AIB, declined to comment on the sale price, but it's understood to have been around €9m.

The sale caused a controversy when Dublin CEO John Costello launched an attack on NAMA over what he termed "their failure to acknowledge the role of voluntary organisations in their disposal strategy in the generation of social capital."

Dublin County CEO John Costello
Dublin County CEO John Costello

NAMA claimed that the receiver was obliged to accept the highest bid on behalf of the debtor.

However, it came in for widespread criticism on the basis that the organisation has "community development" as part of its remit.

There were calls for a review of the legislation to take account of the plans prospective purchasers had for properties controlled by NAMA.

That's of no value to Dublin GAA, who have lost out on an ideal site for what would been a major development.

Dublin has long harboured the ambition of building their own stadium, which would cater for less prestigious inter-county games, while continuing to use Croke Park for the big attractions.

Spawell's proximity to the M50 in a thriving GAA area was seen as the perfect location for such a venture.

Irish Independent

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