Tetrarch in negotiations to buy Millennium Park for €35m

Taxpayers on the hook for massive loss on Naas property scheme’s Nama loans

Tetrarch Capital, owner of the Powerscourt Hotel in Enniskerry and the Marker in Dublin, is in exclusive negotiations to buy the Millennium Park complex in Naas from a Nama-controlled developer for more than €35 million.

Tetrarch is being backed on the deal by Pimco, the US investment giant that previously tried to buy Nama's Project Eagle in Northern Ireland.

Millennium Park, comprising a business park and more than 330 acres of development and agricultural land, was bought in 2006 by a group of developers in a deal backed by AIB.

It is owned by Osberstown Developments, controlled by developers Tom Considine, Paddy Sweeney and local businessman Gerry Prendergast. They paid more than €310 million, or close to €1 million an acre, making it one of the most expensive land deals of the boom.

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Osberstown had a €460 million deficit in its accounts at the end of 2013, the last year for which its financial statements are available. The accounts say its debts include about €160 million of bank loans secured on the park, suggesting taxpayers are on the hook for a substantial loss on the Nama loans.

The Osberstown borrowers were instructed by Nama to sell Millennium Park earlier this year, and oversaw the sale without the appointment of a receiver.

Nama would not directly comment on the sale, but said it is the responsibility of the debtors to sell assets themselves unless there is a receiver appointed.

Mr Prendergast, who has managed Millennium Park for Nama since it acquired Osberstown’s loans, says he has not agreed on any deal to run the park on behalf of the buyer.

“But if the new buyer wants to work with me, then yes, I’ll be prepared to manage it for them,” said Mr Prendergast, a high-profile member of the Naas business community.

Tetrarch declined to comment on the deal, but it is understood that the company is likely to retain Mr Prendergast to run Millennium, at least for a transitional period.

One of Tetrarch’s principals is Michael McElligott, who lives in Naas, not far from the park.

Millennium Park is situated on the northwestern edge of the town, not far from Dublin and near the M7 motorway. The complex includes more than 100 acres of unzoned agricultural land and about 230 acres of development land.

The adjacent business park also produces a rent roll of about €1.6 million annually from a selection of private and public sector tenants.

Part of the Millennium lands were previously parcelled off and sold to Kerry Group, where the food giant plans to build a €100 million innovation centre.

Part of the attraction for the deal for Kerry was the proposed construction of an interchange linking the park with the M7. It is unclear whether the buyer will have to provide land or cash towards the construction of the interchange.

*This article was amended on July 8th, 2015

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column