The owners of a key Dublin Airport land bank now up for sale have privately suggested they expect it to fetch more than €210 million in a sign the State airport operator faces a potentially large bill to bring the property into public ownership.
Three connecting lots of land in the centre of the airport are being sold by brothers Ulick and Des McEvaddy; Seán Fox; and Brendan and Orla O’Donoghue. The property is being sold in its entirety or three separate lots.
The best known of the vendors are the McEvaddy brothers, who made their fortune with Omega Air, a business supplying mid-air refuelling services to the US navy. Their sale of land held since 1996 ends a long campaign to build a privately-owned terminal, for which they never received government support.
The brothers are known to have had some talks with the airport authority on a potential sale but the parties disagreed on price.
After advertising land between the airport runways on Wednesday, the owners of the three lots have let it be known in tentative engagements with potential buyers that they have set a guide price in excess of €205 million-€210 million for the property.
The guide price is the first public indication of the amount of money the vendors expect the State-controlled Dublin Airport authority or any other bidder to pay to secure ownership of lands seen as critical for the airport’s long-term expansion.
The site has been cast as an ideal location for a third terminal although senior airport figures believe such infrastructure won’t be required for another two decades.
The guide-price valuation on the 260-acre property sets the expected price in the region of €800,000 per acre.
That valuation is roughly half the €1.6 million price per acre that the airport authority recently paid in a €70 million deal for a car park site outside the airport campus. The transaction is subject to the approval of competition regulators.
The lower valuation than on the recently-acquired external car park reflects expectations that planners won’t permit car parking on the lands now for sale, otherwise a potentially lucrative source of income that would drive the land valuation higher.
The vendors say the lands are “essential” to the airport’s growth. But the airport authority said the priority should be on new transport links with existing terminals rather than “speculative projects” on the other side of the campus “that aren’t required in the medium term and are devoid of transport links and other necessary airport services”.