Although a small number of commercial tenants continue to complain, it seems that NAMA is actively cutting deals with such tenants generally when faced with financial difficulty. We learn today via Donal O’Donovan in the Irish Independent that NAMA has agreed with hotel operator Kasterlee – operates some Clarion and Quality hotels in Ireland and one in the UK – that it can pay off rent arrears over a five year period. This is the first time that it has been publicly revealed that an hotel operator has cut a deal with NAMA, even if it involves the paying off of sums due.
Kasterlee is owned by a group of well-known Irish business people including Cork hotelier Frankie Whelehan, the Kelly family including veteran developer Paddy Kelly, developer and author Simon Kelly, Emma Kelly, the McCormack family of Alanis Capital fame, Audrey McCormack, Breeda McCormack, Gracia McCormack, Jessica McCormack, Gerry McNulty and Peter Redden.
At least some of these people have other relationships with NAMA based on property loans. In the case of Kasterlee, there is reportedly no lending relationship.
NAMA recently published an update to summarise its achievements in 2012 and said it had approved €13.5 million in rent abatement for commercial tenants, comprising 212 applications and that a further 56 applications are currently being reviewed and that only 8 of the 276 eligible applications received to date have been refused (97% approval rate by NAMA). One of the unsuccessful applicants was the Harvey Norman furniture store in Mullingar and its local TD, Fine Gael’s Robert Troy blasted NAMA for not approving the abatement in that case.
Still though, it is obvious that NAMA is cutting deals with commercial tenants, and if you don’t ask, you won’t know.