Tuesday 25 September 2007

Members to get €100,000 each in €80m city golf club buyout

MEMBERS of a top Dublin golf club are set for a personal €100,000 windfall as part of a buy-out offer by a major development company.

Capel Developments has offered to give €80m in cash alone to Clontarf golf club to buy its land. It has also offered to move the Clontarf members to Portmarnock Links golf course, which Capel owns.

Of the €80m figure, €60m will go directly to the estimated 600 voting members of the club, with €20m available for club funds if Clontarf moves to the 12-year-old Portmarnock course.

The property development company will also provide a 28,000 square foot, two-storey, fully equipped clubhouse at Portmarnock, a driving range, and a short game practice area and putting facilities.

In total, taking the cash and the value of the 147 acre Portmarnock Links course, which is estimated at €30m, the deal is worth over €110m to Clontarf.

The unique feature of the offer is the cash element aimed directly at the individual voting members of which Capel estimate there are 600.

Three other clubs in the Republic -- Bray, Dun Laoghaire and Douglas -- have done land swap deals with developers, but in each case, the members were not given a direct share of the money.

The tax implications will need to be ascertained by experts on behalf of Clontarf, but the members will hope they will only be liable for 20pc Capital Gains tax.

All of this is dependent on club members agreeing to leave the home they have occupied since 1912, and Dublin City Council rezoning the Clontarf Golf Club lands for building.

The course is set on around 73 acres in Marino, less than a mile from Dublin city centre, and includes a Bowling club.

Ironically, the Clontarf golf club only own around 10 acres of the site, with the other 63 acres on a long-term sporting lease from Dublin City Council.

Capel Developments is a leading property development company which bought Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links in 2005 for over €70m.

The company has since upgraded facilities at the Hotel which is currently for sale, and have spoken to a number of golf clubs including Clontarf and Forrest Little about a swap deal.

Their written offer to Clontarf ends a long period of speculation about the company's intentions regarding the Links golf course.

Capel Developments is owned by Dubliners John O'Connor and Eddie Keegan, and Liam Kelly from Laois.

John O'Connor is a member and past Captain of St Anne's Golf Club on the Bull Island.

Mr O'Connor commented last night: "I can confirm we have made an offer to Clontarf. It's with the club now and I can't expand on that at this time."

Clontarf Club officials had no comment to make.

Well-known members of the club include former Dublin Manager Kevin Heffernan, former Tipperary All-Ireland hurler Tony Wall, and Golfing Union of Ireland General Secretary Seamus Smith.

Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links opened in 1995. It originally cost IR£14m and was built by a partnership of International Management Group and a consortium including Columbia Investments.

The championship layout was designed by Ryder Cup star Bernhard Langer and is internationally renowned as a top quality course.

Irish Independent

No comments: