Nama seeks bids over €125m for 80% of Irish Glass Bottle site

New Ringsend development will be called ‘Pembroke at Dublin 4’

The Irish Glass Bottle site at Ringsend. Once the land is developed, Nama will receive 20 per cent of the profits of any sales, in addition to the up-front cash from the sale of the 80% shareholding. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The Irish Glass Bottle site at Ringsend. Once the land is developed, Nama will receive 20 per cent of the profits of any sales, in addition to the up-front cash from the sale of the 80% shareholding. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A minimum price of €125 million has been set for an 80 per cent stake in the former Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend, which sold for more than €400 million at the height of the boom.

The National Asset Management Agency (Nama), which controls the site on the Poolbeg Peninsula in Dublin’s east end, is seeking bids to develop the land designated for 3,500 apartments and 1 million sq ft of commercial development, as well as a school site and community and public open spaces.

The 37-acre site comprises the old Irish Glass Bottle Company lands and the smaller neighbouring Fabrizia site, formerly owned by developer Liam Carroll. Both sites have been idle for almost 20 years.

The successful bidder will have the benefit of fast-track planning following the approval by An Bord Pleanála in April of a “strategic development zone” (SDZ) status for the lands.

Two months

Under the fast-track planning system, projects approved by the council in the SDZ area cannot be appealed to An Bord Pleanála, which means developers could start work two months after making an application.

The project, which Nama is calling “Pembroke at Dublin 4”, will see the agency retain a 20 per cent shareholding with bidders invited to submit expressions of interest for the remaining 80 per cent stake by Friday, September 13th.

Only cash bids above €125 million that are not subject to debt finance will be entertained, according to documentation issued by Nama. “All bids must be in cash, are to be unconditional and non-contingent on third-party debt funding,” the expressions of interest document states.

Up-front cash

Once the land is developed, Nama will receive 20 per cent of the profits of any sales, in addition to the up-front cash from the sale of the 80 per cent shareholding.

The documents also state that two plots of land on the site, amounting to 2.6 acres, must not be used “for any purpose other than for affordable housing”.

In May 2017, Dublin City Council, Nama and the Department of Housing reached agreement that, in addition to the 10 per cent social housing that must be provided under the planning laws, 15 per cent of the 3,500 apartments would be used for affordable housing.

Last year the receiver to the site, David Carson, appealed this provision in the SDZ scheme to An Bord Pleanála. He later withdrew the appeal to allow negotiations on the affordable housing provisions to go ahead.

The council last month said it was at an advanced stage of negotiations with Nama in relation to the affordable homes. The council has said it would be willing to buy plots of land on the glass bottle site for the 600 affordable apartments.

‘Restrictive covenant’

The inclusion, in the expression of interest document of specific sites to be used for affordable housing as a “restrictive covenant” copperfastens the provision of these homes for low- and middle-income workers. However, the council may have to enter into negotiations with the new owners in relation to a commercial agreement for these homes.

The glass bottle site was bought in 2006 for €412 million by a consortium involving developer Bernard McNamara and State body the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. Nama bought the debt associated with the site from the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank after the property crash.