Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Ulster Bank takes control of hundreds of developer's homes

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Ulster Bank has taken control of hundreds of finished and part-finished homes in the Dublin suburbs from building giant Maplewood Developments.

The bank is understood to be owed hundreds of millions of euro by the borrower.

Maplewood Developments is part of Irish developer Michael Whelan's Mortiz property and business empire, which was established in 1970.

Ulster Bank appointed Paul McCann, a partner at Grant Thornton, as fixed-asset receiver over the Maplewood assets.

Maplewood Developments itself was not placed in receivership.

Ulster Bank had mortgages over the properties that were taken over in last night's move.

In 2008, the Sunday Times Rich List estimated Michael Whelan's wealth at around £95m making him Ireland's 103rd wealthiest person. As well as property, Moritz has investments in the Digiweb broadband business and holds the Irish franchise for the Wickes DIY chain.

Mr Whelan could not be reached for comment.

During the boom, Maplewood Developments became one of the biggest home builders in the country. It was one of the leading companies behind the huge developments at Adamstown, near Lucan in Dublin.

The properties affected by last night's move include greenfield development sites as well as finished and part-built housing estates in the Dublin commuter belt.

The Republic's toxic loan agency, Nama, is also a significant lender to Maplewood and has registered mortgages over a number of Maplewood assets.

Mr Whelan also branched out with major investments in the UK and as far away as Romania.

He is understood to be currently in the process of selling a landmark £200m office building in the City of London at 70 Gracechurch Street, close to the Bank of England.

Originally from Co Longford, Mr Whelan set what was a record at the time when he paid €9m (£7.5m)for a detached five-bedroom house on Temple Road in Dartry, Dublin 6.

The Maplewood Developments brand is well known to sports fans through horse racing sponsorships as well as from the innovative sponsorship of a Dublin GAA Club as part of the price of a land deal.

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