Dispute over former Zanzibar complex to be fast-tracked

Property owner alleges actions of businessman are frustrating plans

Targeted Investment Opportunities ICAV, bought the former Zanzibar building last year. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Targeted Investment Opportunities ICAV, bought the former Zanzibar building last year. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

A dispute alleged to be frustrating the multi-million-euro development of a 160-unit aparthotel on a site on Dublin’s north quays known as the Zanzibar complex is to be fast-tracked in the Commercial Court.

Targeted Investment Opportunities ICAV, North Wall Quay, Dublin, bought properties at Lower Ormond Quay and Great Strand Street, Dublin, for €10.5 million in late 2016 with a view to developing an aparthotel.

It claims actions of businessman Ciaran McGrath are an effort to frustrate its plans but he denies that.

Mr McGrath, who owns adjoining properties at 25-28 Great Strand Street, maintains he has a right of way in relation to a passageway exiting on to Great Strand Street and contends what is at issue are property rights of modest value.

The issue whether or not he has such a right does not affect the ability to proceed with the development, he says.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern agreed this week, despite objections by Angus Buttanshaw BL, for Mr McGrath, to fast-track the case in the Commercial Court.

Mr Buttanshaw said this was not a commercial dispute and it was “very difficult” to see why his client could not be granted a right of way. He wondered “what planet” the developer was on if it had not considered there might be an issue arising from the fact a doorway from his client’s premises opened on to the passageway, he added.

Michael Howard SC, for TIO, said Mr McGrath had objected to his client’s planning application and has appealed the grant of permission to An Bord Pleanála. The legal issues raised could not be decided by the Bord but are appropriate for the court, he said.

Appropriate

The judge said he considered the proceedings appropriate for the Commercial Court for reasons including the value of the proposed development.

The action is by TIO and Dublin City Council which had consented to a portion of its property, the passageway, being included in TIO’s planning application.

In court documents, TIO said it believes the cost of implementing the August 2017 planning permission for the development would be between €30 and €50 million. The value of the properties, with that permission, must now significantly exceed the €10.5 million paid for them, it also said.

The plaintiffs allege the various claims being advanced by Mr McGrath are groundless, vexatious and amount to a slander on their respective titles to their properties located at 31/32, 34/35 and 36/37 Lower Ormond Quay, 28 A Great Strand Street and the rear of 25/28 Great Strand Street.

Mr McGrath claims an interest in the passageway and a right to use it in common with the plaintiffs. He also asserts ownership and/or interest in a shed on the properties; a right to enter or exit a doorway at the rear of his properties into a yard within the plaintiffs properties and/or into the passageway; and a right to a “flow of light” which he claims the planned development will interfere with.