Nama €2bn investment will focus on Docklands
Frank Daly, chairman of Nama, addressing the Association of European Journalists in Dublin yesterday. He said should Nama take on IBRC's mortgage portfolio, it would be a new departure for for the agency. photograph: alan betson
The National Assets Management Agency (Nama) is to develop a string of new commercial, infrastructure and residential projects within the Dublin Central Business District, primarily focused on the city’s Docklands.
The agency’s nationwide plan to invest €2 billion in completing projects up to 2016 will primarily address a shortage of quality office accommodation in the capital’s Docklands area and elsewhere.
It is also designed to assist the on-going expansion of the financial services sector and the development of new business and technology hubs, the agency said.
Nama chairman Frank Daly said the agency was evaluating residential projects where demand existed in Dublin and in other major growth centres throughout the country.
Speaking to the Association of European Journalists in Dublin, Mr Daly said: “We hold security over a considerable number of properties and lands on both sides of the river Liffey and are currently assessing the commercial feasibility of a wide range of projects – not least those in the undeveloped part of North Wall Quay in the north Docklands.”
Although Mr Daly said that Nama’s over-riding objective was to obtain the best financial return for the State and that all other objectives, “no matter how worthy”, would be subservient to this objective. He added that “we are committed to supporting initiatives for the common good”.
“The Dublin Docklands has been a marked success from an investment perspective, already accommodating over 40,000 employees in the technology, banking, financial, commercial law and other service sectors.
“The area is expected to require significant new development over the medium term, particularly of commercial office space, to accommodate the continued expansion of the financial services sector and the creation of new business and technology hubs in the wake of the move by companies such as Google and Facebook to the area,” he said.
Nama’s investment plan is linked to the resolution of planning and infrastructure issues in Dublin and elsewhere.
The bad loan agency has approved sales with a total value of €11 billion since its inception in December 2009.
Mr Daly said the Government’s recent decision to liquidate IBRC and direct Nama to acquire the unsold residual element of its loan portfolio would “significantly increase Nama’s workload”.
“Potentially, depending on the scale of loan transfers, the size of our balance sheet could increase by close to 50 per cent.”
The liquidator has until August to decide what to do with IBRC assets.
Should Nama take on IBRC’s mortgage portfolio, it would be a new departure for for the agency, said Mr Daly.
The overwhelming majority of assets on Nama’s balance sheet are of a commercial property nature.
In a criticism of the pace with which the banks are dealing with their problem loans, Mr Daly said that “problems in bank balance sheets were not confined to property loans, and it has taken them some time to get to grips with other impaired segments of their loan books”.
Mr Daly noted there was an absence of a “central, co-ordinating, policy development role” in relation to the residential property market.
He said there was a need for such an entity to “take the lead” in the market.