Sunday 19 July 2009

Square root of dispute row has origins in granting of car-park licence in shopping centre

The dispute at The Square in Tallaght has its origins in the decision by South Dublin County Council to grant the original developers a licence over the 18-acre car park at the shopping centre. This was done so that the council could develop some small areas of the car park, after what was dubbed a call-back, themselves.

One of those call-back areas is where the Tuansgate office scheme was built by property adviser Sean Davin's company, Lowe Taverns Tallaght. The council granted him a licence to park cars in The Square's car park as part of the deal.

When the owners of The Square tried to progress an expansion of the centre, Lowe Taverns objected because its licence was not just for spaces in front of Tuansgate – it allowed the cars be parked anywhere within the car park. Litigation followed and in 2002 Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan deemed that the Lowe licence applied to the whole of the car park. As a result, the holder of the licence could block development of the shopping centre until they received appropriate compensation.

Eventually, McFeely and O'Mahony paid €55m for Lowe Taverns Tallaght, and with it the licence, through a company called Aifca, which is now majority owned by Liam Carroll.

Later, UCI cinemas came on the market. Smyth bought the cinema and its car-park licence for €52.75m even though Liam Carroll then issued proceedings in the C­ommercial Court against the Butlers, who were the vendors, but those proceedings were discontinued.

Sunday Tribune

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