The BBC is today reporting that a GBP 50m (€58m) development in Strabane, County Tyrone is to go ahead after the developers bought out loans which were controlled by NAMA. The development will see the construction of a large business park dubbed an “employment park”, a 100-bedroom hotel and a 50,000 sq ft leisure centre, all set on a 24-acre former British army base on the banks of the Foyle in Strabane. It is reported that the project is set to create 450 jobs in the area in the next two years.
That the development is going ahead at all in the current economic environment is interesting enough; that it is going ahead despite the shelving of the A5 motorway which was to pass nearby is doubly interesting.
The BBC reports that the developer of the scheme, Riverside Building and Development Limited is now confident that construction will start in 2012 after the company bought out from NAMA, the loans of one of the companies which has a stake in the project. Pat Doherty’s (and until recently, RTE personality Mike Murphy’s) company, Harcourt Developments is reported to have had loans relating to the development which were sold under the auspices of NAMA to the remaining stakeholders, apparently last summer.
What was the face value of the loans? How much did NAMA pay for the loans? How much did NAMA sell the loans for? Did NAMA market the loans and if so where and how? Did NAMA receive more than one offer for the loans, and if so how did it evaluate the offers? What were NAMA’s carrying costs for the loans? Did the Agency make a profit on the sale?
Who knows, who can tell. NAMA doesn’t provide information on individual transactions unless specifically asked by the Committee of Public Accounts, and even then the information provided is sketchy.
What we do know is that the price charged by NAMA to the remaining stakeholders was sufficiently attractive as to enable the development to start. Did NAMA sell the loans for a song?
Who knows, who can tell.