What now for Irish Glass Bottle Company site in Ringsend?

Cantillon: Nama presses on with plan for prime landbank despite Covid-19 crisis

Former Irish Glass Bottle Company site: has lain idle since manufacturing stopped there 18 years ago. Photograph: Eric Luke

Former Irish Glass Bottle Company site: has lain idle since manufacturing stopped there 18 years ago. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

One crisis left the Irish Glass Bottle Company site in Ringsend, Dublin, in the ownership of the State, which seems likely to press ahead with plans to develop it in the teeth of an altogether different crisis.

It is history now, but in 2006, Becbay, a consortium of developer Bernard McNamara, financier Derek Quinlan and defunct State agency the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, bought the old factory site from South Wharf, an offshoot of glass-maker Ardagh, in a deal funded by Anglo Irish Bank.

The National Asset Management Agency (Nama), established to take over Irish banks’ toxic property loans in the wake of the financial crisis, ended up with control of the property and adjoining land that had belonged to another boom-era developer, Liam Carroll.

80% share

Last year, Nama began seeking a partner to develop the land. The deadline for final bids was Monday. Some reports indicated that the agency was offering an 80 per cent share in the site for €125 million.

Some thought this was steep before coronavirus struck. That did not deter bidders, including Ballymore Properties, whose founder Sean Mulryan was said to be particularly keen on the site.

Whether the pandemic has prompted Mulryan and the others thought to be bidding, including US group Hines and British player Quintain, to change their offers remains to be seen.

Eyebrows raised

Nama’s decision to continue the competition, while Covid-19 has frozen construction and property players warn that it could take a long time for financiers to commit to backing any project, raised more than a few eyebrows.

However, the fact is that the Irish Glass Bottle site has lain idle since manufacturing stopped there 18 years ago. Even with a fair wind, it could be some time before current plans to develop actually get off the ground.

Those proposals provide for 3,500 apartments, including 900 social and affordable homes. A housing shortage, partly the legacy of the financial crisis that stalled the site’s development, means those dwellings are badly needed. Presumably, Nama and the final bidders believe that this demand will remain strong long after coronavirus.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.