Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Nama seeking help to build on Belfast site

The Republic's bad bank Nama is seeking proposals on how to develop a huge site earmarked for housing in east Belfast.

Millmount in Dundonald formerly belonged to house-building brothers Michael and John Taggart, who borrowed from Anglo Irish Bank to buy the 96-acre site. It was valued at the peak of the housing market at around £1m per acre. But it's understood the current value would be no more than £8m.

Administrators Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon, based in Dublin but with an affiliated office in Belfast, have been appointed to the site by Nama. Planning permission has been obtained to build 100 houses on the land.

Limited liability partnership Millmount Developments also applied for planning permission to build a further 510 houses and apartments.

A DoE spokesman confirmed the application was still being considered.

But with up to 600 homes proposed, it could take up to 20 years to dispose of the houses.

One property professional expressed surprise at a Dublin-based accountant being appointed to the task. He said: "It's an interesting appointment to sell land in another jurisdiction. Would they have the expertise in the market here?"

A spokesman for Nama said: "Firms are appointed following competitive processes on the basis of their suitability to manage individual assets, or groups of assets as appropriate, in the manner most favourable to the agency and to achieve the best return from the assets, or groups of assets, to which they have been appointed. It should be noted that the court-appointed practitioner in this case, Baker Tilly Ryan Glennon, is a national service provider, with offices in Dublin and Belfast, and belongs to the Baker Tilly global network."

Buyers who had agreed to buy houses on the site had their deposits returned last year.

Anglo Irish appointed administrators and a development plan was reached with house builder Lagan Homes.

But Nama altered the arrangement to exclude Lagan Homes. Lagan had launched its plans for the site in 2009.

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