Cut-price buy-back offer to farmers who sold land in boom
A group of farmers and landowners on the outskirts of Drogheda, Co Louth, who sold hundreds of acres to property developers and investment groups at exorbitant prices during the property boom, are to be given the option of buying back some of it at agricultural land values – about €15,000 per acre.
Much of the 500-plus acres involved in the now abandoned Sienna Valley project in north Drogheda were bought at between €150,000 and €300,000 per acre, according to one of the nine different development companies involved.
The €150 million project had been expected to lead to the building of 7,200 new homes for 20,000 people in three adjoining neighbourhoods with appropriate support services such as shops, schools and other public facilities.
The North Drogheda Environs Group, representing the developers involved, had also canvassed for a second Drogheda railway station in the new town centre given that most of the houses had been expected to be bought by Dublin commuters. The land is located inside the proposed link road running from the M1 to Drogheda Port.
Although a master plan was approved and 10-year planning permissions were granted by Louth County Council, the project is no longer a runner after most of the companies owning the land were put into receivership.
The largest of the companies involved, Manor Park Homes, which suffered the same fate, had assembled a site of 167 acres which goes for sale from today on the instructions of the UK Lloyds banking group.
Receiver Tom Kavanagh of Kavanagh Fennell and Green Property Ventures are managing the Drogheda land and many other distressed property assets held by the former Bank of Scotland Ireland, once part of the Lloyds group.
The sale of the first tranche of the Drogheda land is being handled by Garvan Walsh of agents Kelly Walsh who is quoting between €15,000 and €30,000 per acre for various lot sizes ranging from five up to about 70 acres. CBRE are joing agents.
The revised valuations are likely to set a precedent when the remaining lands come on the market. Some of the Manor Park land going for sale adjoins the Liscorrie and Aston Village housing developments where the company built about 700 homes before the property crash.
Manor Park was put into receivership a year ago with debts of €170 million, including €33 million paid for the former taoiseach Charles Haughey’s estate in Kilsealy, Co Dublin.
The head of Manor Park, Joe Moran, had not signed any personal guarantees with the bank and settled up with other creditors before winding down the company.
The developer is currently on the lookout for development sites in key locations around Dublin with the intention of restarting his house-building operation.