Ballymore aims to leave Nama by 2015
Company launches City Island project of 1,700 apartments for London
Mayor of London Boris Johnson and developer Seán Mulryan looking at a model of the proposed London development.
Ballymore Properties, which yesterday launched a £700 million luxury apartment development in London, expects to be free of the National Asset Management Agency by 2015.
City Island, “a Manhattan-style island” on 14 acres, will have its own private club for residents, including shops, along with restaurants, a school, bars and restaurants.
Once sold, City Island will “be another major element” to repay Ballymore debt taken over from Anglo Irish and other Irish banks by Nama, said company executive Paul Keogh.
“We would hope to be clean of Nama and back in the equity markets by the middle of 2015,” Mr Keogh, Ballymore’s group strategy director, told The Irish Times.
“Next year will be quite active in terms of repaying the bulk of the debt. There will be residual bits left afterwards,” he said, adding that Ballymore has resumed building houses in Ireland.
The property company, chaired by Seán Mulryan, is confident of selling a substantial proportion of the east London project in Asia before a brick is laid.
“London City Island is one of the most important regeneration projects in London and we are very proud to be launching this weekend in Hong Kong,” Mr Mulryan said in Hong Kong yesterday.
“Some of our Asian clients have invested in eight, or 10 projects,” said Mr Keogh, although he insisted that the majority of it will be sold subsequently in London.
The glossy brochure produced to promote the project does not lack ambition, or confidence: “We’ve been bold with this one – City Island is certainly not shy and retiring,” writes Mr Mulryan.
“From the primary colours of each building (taking inspiration from the area’s maritime heritage) to the surrounding gingko trees and striking red bridge connecting islanders to speedy transport, it really cuts a swathe on the London landscape,” it declares.
“Ballymore is a company that creates something more than just bricks and mortar. We make places, districts – even communities,” the publicity shy businessman declared.
Congratulating Ballymore, Boris Johnson, who welcomes Asian investment in London property, despite doubters elsewhere, declared: “I gave this planning permission.”
The company has invested in property in east London and along the southern side of the Thames around Battersea for over two decades – both of which are now increasingly up-and-coming districts.
Referring to the restart of residential construction in Ireland, Mr Keogh said a Terenure project mothballed in 2006 has been successfully brought back to life.
Ballymore’s Irish residential arm, Ballymore Homes, will “probably” act as a builder for Nama on land that it took over from now-bankrupt property developers, said Mr Keogh.
“We are still alive. A lot of traditional property developers have gone into liquidation,” he said, adding that is now clear demand for new homes in Ireland.