Center Parcs Longford holiday village gets €165m in funding

Forest resort may employ about 1,000 once completed and 750 during construction

Then taoiseach Enda Kenny with Martin Dalby of Centre Parcs when the Ballymahon project was announced in 2015. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Then taoiseach Enda Kenny with Martin Dalby of Centre Parcs when the Ballymahon project was announced in 2015. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

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The developers of the planned Center Parcs holiday village in the midlands have secured a €165 million debt facility from a group of banks led by Barclays.

The financing, also being provided by fellow UK-based lenders HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland, will support the construction of a 500-lodge forest resort spread across 400 acres of woodland, including a glass-roofed swimming complex, restaurants, bars shops and a luxury spa.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar turned the sod in early September on the commencement of construction work at Centre Parcs Longford Forest in Ballymahon, which is expected to cost €233 million to develop and open within 18 months. Center Parcs, based in the UK, was acquired by Canadian investment company Brookfield Asset Management in June 2015 in a deal worth about £2.4 billion (€2.7 billion).

The new financing facility for the company’s first resort in Ireland “represents a key milestone for our project,” said Colin McKinlay, chief financial officer of Center Parcs. “We are looking forward to the next stage of the development and remain on track to open in the summer of 2019.”

Significance for Longford

Henry Cleary, head of real estate lending at Barclays Bank Ireland, said: “This investment is very significant for Longford and the economy of the midlands of Ireland, employing circa 1,000 people once completed and over 750 during construction.”

To date, there has only been some site infrastructure works undertaken at the site, with construction set to ramp up early in 2018, now that funding is secured.

Center Parcs chief executive Martin Dalby has previously estimated that the resort would add upwards of €32 million a year to the Irish economy.

Construction contracts for the complex have been awarded to John Sisk & Son. Roadbridge, the Limerick construction company, is already onsite, carrying out earthworks and building roads, paths, utilities, drainage systems and an artificial lake.

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