NAMA gives up hope of recovering Grehan assets

NAMA has given up hope of recovering hundreds of millions of euro owed by the two Grehan brothers who set land-price records at the height of the boom.

The state’s recovery agency asked the High Court to appoint receivers to a wide portfolio of business and personal assets belonging to Ray and Daniel Grehan.

A precise figure on the value of the loans has not been revealed.

The brothers’ assets included the high profile two acre site of the former UCD veterinary college in Ballsbridge, which shattered records in 2005 when the brothers bought it for €82 million an acre.

The purchase was secured at the end of a bidding war between the Grehans and Seán Dunne, with loan given by AIB on the back of personal guarantees put up by the Galway brothers.

Difficulty in getting planning permission for a 15-storey apartment block on the UCD plot delayed the development and led to the conversion of the area into an unauthorised carpark.

The old Techrete factory in Howth, which was refused planning permission for a 12-storey apartment block, was also on the books of the brothers and their company, the Glennkerrin Group.

The Grehans also owned the Grange apartment block off the Stillorgan dual-carriageway, the Glenroyal hotel in Maynooth and the St Edmund’s site in Palmerstown.

The receivers appointed are Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton.

NAMA will also ask the courts in Britain to appoint administrators to a network of properties held by the Glennkerrin Group.

This will include the four-star Hotel St Gregory at Shoreditch in London, a retail complex and site and an apartment block in London’s docklands.

Ray Grehan is the eldest of nine children who grew up on a dairy farm in Galway. He trained as a welder in Limerick before moving to Dublin in the mid-1980s to take responsibility for small building jobs.

In the 90s, he won the contract to tile a major project for Seán Dunne in Bray.

Fifteen years later Grehan, with his brother, were the counterweight to Dunne in the scramble for properties in Dublin 4.

This drove up the value of land in Ballsbridge but the record-setting prices were predicated on a high-rise vision which residents, Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála did not approve of.

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