Belfast Telegraph

G8 summit : Luxury Lough Erne resort yours for just... £10m

By Lesley Houston

One subject is set to dominate next year’s G8 summit – the state of the world’s economy.

The irony will not be lost on many, then, that the meeting of leaders is taking place in Northern Ireland’s most high-profile victim of the global economic slump.

The Lough Erne Golf Resort and Spa in Enniskillen is currently in the hands of receivers and has been on sale for £10m for 18 months. Property experts believe that the renewed prominence brought by the G8 summit could spark a speedy sale for the resort, which includes a luxury spa and a golf course designed by Sir Nick Faldo.

The 120-room hotel and golf facility was put into the hands of administrators KPMG in May 2011, with former owner Jim Treacy owing Bank of Scotland Ireland (BoSI) £25m following the property slump.

Mr Treacy told The Belfast Telegraph that the decision to bring the G8 to Lough Erne vindicated his original vision for the luxury resort.

“I created it. Does this not endorse what I did? It's copper-fastened my vision for it to be a world renowned resort.

“I built it up to where it was, but then of course this all happened because of the bank. I did my best and I put it on the ground and I don't think I can be viewed very critically.”

Mr Treacy told of his regret and bitterness that he does not still control the five-star resort.

“If I had the ability to put it there once and was given a fair wind and a fair chance I could recover and drive it forward but I don't think we live in a world of fair wind and fair chances.”

The agents charged with selling the property, CBRE, at a knockdown price of £10m — just a third of its estimated previous worth — are hopeful a buyer will be found soon.

Brian Lavery, Managing Director at CBRE, said he was “very encouraged” by the genuine level of interest in Lough Erne from both international and national parties.

“It is in administration but it's still immaculate in terms of its condition and presents well.”

Agreeing that the G8 news “can only be helpful”, Mr Lavery said the next stage of the sale process would be calling for bids, which he was confident would happen in the near future.

Michael Williamson, director at ASM Accountants in Belfast, remains cautious that a buyer will be found on the strength of G8 alone.

“I don't think an event of a few days in isolation is going to materially change the appeal,” he said.

“However, it's a good promo for the area and the resort and it could leverage other interest.”

Belfast Telegraph