Dublin City Council is using a building licence agreement to sell developer Joe O'Reilly a building at 24-25 Moore Street for €12m.
Building licences have been used by some developers to avoid paying stamp duty upfront and legislation was brought in against them but a commencement order was never signed.
"Local Authority disposals of major development or urban renewal sites have traditionally been by means of building licence, agreement to lease and then grant of long term lease. In some instances, as in the present case, an option to purchase the fee is made available following the full completion of the entire development," said Declan Wallace, executive manager in Dublin City Council's economic development unit.
"The primary objective … is to ensure that development of the site, if ultimately approved by the planning authority or an Bord Pleanala, is completed in an efficient and timely manner. Title is transferred only when the development reaches a certain stage, for example to eaves level. In the circumstances pertaining, and particularly in the current difficult climate for developers, it would be wholly inappropriate to transfer title at an early stage in the process prior to certain building targets being achieved. Taxation liabilities and issues are dealt with as they arise, in accordance with the relevant legislation applying at that time."
Chartered Land said it had no comment
The building will form part of O'Reilly's €1.25bn Dublin Central scheme for which he is currently seeking planning permission using his company Chartered Land. The scheme includes plans for 110 shops, 17 restaurants and 108 residential units.