In the premier league of (in hindsight) disastrous ambitions during the noughties building boom, we are all familiar with the €412m 25-acre Irish Glass Bottle site which can be rented today for €750,000 a year and the €380m paid by Sean Dunne for a few mid-market hotels and a run-down office building so that he could realize his vision of Knightsbridge in Ballsbridge, or the €180m an acre paid by the Grehan brothers just down the road from that. But in the lower divisions, there have been plenty of less prominent disasters and one must be the 193-home development in Priorland outside Dundalk on land known locally as Balmer’s Bog.
The BBC today reports that Ulster Bank has moved against the developer, Kinler Developments Limited, which apparently owes €28m in respect of the land. The development obtained planning permission in 2008 but there were further appeals before a plan was finalized in 2009, by which time the market had collapsed. So it would appear that Ulster Bank is left with a loan on bog land that equates to €145,000 per planned home.
It’s not premier league, but it’s up there.
Kinler is registered to an address in Dundalk but is controlled by John Curran, Kieran Haughey and Mark King and reported to be a Cookstown, county Tyrone developer. Ulster Bank has also taken over Dublin property which was owned by a related company, Tiffen Developments (Irl) Limited, which the BBC reports to be a site with planning for 19 houses on Grace Park Road in Drumcondra and a site on Swords Road in Malahide for three blocks of 27 apartments. With new homes and apartments in Dublin falling by between 1.3-10.2% last year according to the SCSI this morning, and with developers moaning about build costs being less than market values, Ulster Bank is likely to be concerned about how much these latter sites are presently worth.