Centres part of €1.85bn package

by Aisling Kennedy

A JOINT offer of €1.85bn has been made by two international property groups to purchase both the Dundrum Town Centre and the old Dundrum Village centre as part of a property package called Project Jewel.
Listed UK property group Hammerson and the German property group Allianz Real Estate have been chosen by NAMA as the preferred bidder for Project Jewel.
Project Jewel is a portfolio of properties that are now under the control of NAMA due to loans that are associated with each premises.
The portfolio includes loans attached to Dundrum Town Centre, the Pavillions Shopping Centre in Swords, the Ilac Centre, a site on O’Connell Street and Moore Street, and the old Dundrum Village centre that was earmarked for the second phase of development of the town centre.
There has been a mixed response to the news of this sale going ahead, with local councillors feeling bittersweet about the sale.
Cllr Gerry Horkan (FF) said he was disappointed that the Government chose to dispose of one of the few performing assets in NAMA’s portfolio.
He said: “I would have preferred if it could have stayed paying back its loans and that it wasn’t being sold off. That being said, I wish Dundrum Town Centre, which is the most popular town centre in the country, all the success in the future.
“I hope that the current staff and the team in Dundrum Town Centre, in terms of [property developer] Joe O’Reilly and his team, will still be involved and it won’t affect the operations of the centre for the customers, local residents, the shopkeepers and the business operators in the centre. I hope it’ll be a seamless transition.”
Cllr Peter O’Brien (Lab) said that he thinks the sale of the Dundrum Town Centre is a good thing and added: “The fact that it is making money is a positive thing. It can only attract more jobs and investment into the Dundrum area.”
In terms of what he thinks should happen to the old Dundrum Village centre, Cllr O’Brien was clear.
“I think it’s essential, no matter what happens, that the village of Dundrum doesn’t lose its character. It’s got a fantastic history as the area of South County Dublin was built around Dundrum, and I think that no matter what happens with Phase 2 that the village should keep its identity and keep its character,” he said.
Project Jewel comprises loans connected with developer O’Reilly and his company, Chartered Land, one of NAMA’s biggest debtors.
This deal now means that Hammerson and Allianz are O’Reilly’s new lenders.
They are expected to seek to reach a consensual agreement with the Irish developer to manage and develop the underlying assets.

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