Friday 3 September 2010

Treasury to press ahead with its Skerries project

Treasury Holdings, which is locked in intensive negotiations with NAMA over huge debts, is officially still planning to press ahead with a 150-bedroom hotel and two golf courses in north Co Dublin.

The company received planning permission five years ago for a 427-acre site at Milverton Demesne in Skerries, and despite the recession the company is seeking to renew the planning for another five years.

It has lodged an application for the extension with planners, but Fingal County Council are seeking additional information.

A loss of planning would greatly reduce the value of the site and impact on the value of assets at Treasury. The application is being made through its subsidiary Tamorbrick Ltd. The company declined to comment yesterday on whether the planning extension is purely designed to safeguard the value on the site. It is understood there is no immediate plans to build either the golf courses or the hotel, but the company maintains that demand could yet emerge for such facilities.

According to the file lodged with Fingal, Tamorbrick wants to build an "integrated/recreational facility'' on the site -- with plans for a 150-bedroom hotel with restaurant, bars and a leisure centre with pool, spa treatment rooms.

There would also be two 18-hole golf courses located near the Black Hills-Balcunnin Road. A clubhouse and a nine-hole putting course would also be added. Almost 50 houses, with some aimed at the tourist market, are also planned.

The precise debt load at Treasury is not known but the company it controls, Real Estate Opportunities (REO) has debts of £1.7bn and NAMA is currently negotiating with REO and Treasury about its debt burden. A disposal of assets is one potential option for both companies. REO has already missed one coupon payment to its bondholders. The planning permission given at Skerries was extended during an earlier county development plan, so it's important for Treasury to keep the permission as it could be difficult to get fresh permission for the site, sources pointed out. Fingal now have four weeks to review the extension application.

Any hotel on the site would be facing severe competition if it opened at present. Golf hotels have been the most vulnerable, with large properties such as Jim Mansfield's Citywest facility in receivership.

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor
Irish Independent

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