We learn today from the Irish Times today that the Blackrock Baths – a derelict open-air swimming/diving venue with seating for 1,000 spectators on the seafront in the upmarket Dublin suburb of Blackrock – are to be demolished after the local council determined that the structures had become dangerous. The Irish Times reports that the baths were acquired by NAMA Top10 developer, Treasury Holdings in 1997.
Last year, a local Labour councillor called for the baths to be acquired by the council – if NAMA owned loans relating to the site – and for the baths to be restored to their former glory. With outbreaks of ecoli on our beaches this summer, not to mention sewage spills and reports of the potentially deadly Portugese man-o-war jellyfish turning up on our beaches, you might have thought there would be demand for a safe outdoor swimming venue.
In recent months, embattled Treasury Holdings has frequently been in the headlines as NAMA takes action to foreclose on loans to the property development group which was founded by Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett. We know that NAMA has had receivers appointed to over 30 Irish companies in the Treasury group, but Blackrock Baths don’t appear to be on the current NAMA foreclosure list but remember (a) the foreclosure list is rife with errors and (b) NAMA has only foreclosed on a fraction of the properties subject to its loans – most property is still being managed by the developer. So Blackrock Baths might or might not be in NAMA.
In May 2012, NAMA announced vague plans to spend €2bn on developing assets securing its loans, over the next four years. There has been little detail provided to date on how the €2bn will be spent. NAMA has been cutting its teeth with the wrecking ball in July 2012 when it demolished an apartment block in the Gleann Riada estate in Longford.
This morning, a spokesman for NAMA had no comment on the reported demolition.