Nama to sell part of Harcourt loan book

Pat Doherty’s extensive €300 million ‘Abbey’ property portfolio to be sold

Nama has begun the process of finding a buyer for a loan book linked to part of the valuable property portfolio held by Pat Doherty's Harcourt Developments.

Harcourt has been best known in recent years as the developer behind the Titanic Quarter in Belfast. However, that project will not figure in the Abbey portfolio which is expected to attract loans of close to €300 million from a new overseas lender. Accountants KPMG are to handle the sale.

The company is one of the country’s largest owners of regional shopping centres including Galway Shopping Centre on the outskirts of the city which continues to trounce the better located Eyre Square shopping centre.

It also owns Letterkenny shopping centre; Longwalk shopping centre in Dundalk; Laois Centre in Portlaoise; Parkway Centre in Limerick city and the Parkwest Plaza anchored by Spar in West Dublin.

The Limerick-based shopping complex is challenged by the successful retail park close by at Childers Road which is also anchored by Dunnes Stores and is for sale at €44 million.

Harcourt also has an impressive collection of hotels including the five-star Carlisle Bay Resort in Antigua; the five-star Lough Eske Hotel which is based on a 17th-century castle near Donegal town; Redcastle Hotel in Dundalk and Parkwest Hotel in Clondalkin, Dublin.

Mr Doherty’s company is also understood to have further development sites at Park West Business Park off the M50 which has had mixed fortunes since it opened in the late 1990s. Harcourt originally built a string of attractive stand-alone office buildings which were snatched up by groups of investors anxious to avail of valuable tax breaks. In most cases Harcourt guaranteed the rent for the first three years to allow the new owners time to find suitable tenants. However some blocks proved impossible to rent because of Revenue insistence that qualifying companies had to be involved in an internationally traded services such as R&D or IT. Some investors managed to let their blocks but with the tax breaks well and truly over many groups sold them on at a loss.

Harcourt is also involved in a business park in Riga in Latvia as well as the Premier Business Park in Ballycoolin and the Semperit Parkwest which it bought from the Jefferson Smurfit Group in 1999 for €16 million. The portfolio also includes 72 acres of development land at Fortunestown Lane in Saggart, Dublin 24, as well as its Georgian headquarters in Harcourt Street.

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan is the former commercial-property editor of The Irish Times