Nama sells developer’s 125-acre Cork site

NAMA has agreed the sale of 125 acres of land at Curraheen, Co Cork, formerly owned by developer John Fleming, to the Munster Agricultural Society and University College Cork.

UCC and MAS have jointly acquired the farmland off the N25/ Ballincollig Bypass for an undisclosed sum, but are believed to have paid between €3 million to €4m.

It is first major Nama transaction in the South through the receiver and manager of JJ Fleming Ltd. The company’s Fota Island Resort is also due to come up for sale this year, with a guide in excess of €20m.

The Curraheen site was acquired by Fleming Construction in August of 2005 for €17m, almost double its guide price of €10m.

The company, which is in liquidation and receivership, has several development and renewable energy companies in Ireland.

Principal of the firm, John Fleming, was the first Irish developer to adopt “bankruptcy tourism” when he relocated to British in 2010 as certain banks moved on his firm’s assets.

The developer made use of that country’s lenient debt laws and he exited bankruptcy in Britain in November of last year.

The land, while not advertised for sale, was on the market and had appropriate signage on the arterial, western route into the city.

Located in a green belt zone, the farmland was purchased by Fleming Construction as a property play — it would have provided alternative grounds for west city sporting clubs in high value suburban locations, such as Bishopstown GAA and Highfield Rugby Club.

Under MAS and UCC, the land will have amenity and community use. It will address MAS’s need for a new home and will open up space for a Science and Innovation Park for UCC at an adjoining site at Curraheen. This land is zoned for a Science Park and the new lands will allow the university to relocate their facilities westward.

MAS will take the lion’s share of the land, utilising 75 acres on both sides of the South Link Road, while UCC will retain 50 acres on the eastern end, close to the Curraheen interchange.

UCC intends to create a new Centre of Excellence for Sport and MAS intends to run its successful Summer Show at the lands in June and July of this year.

With the co-operation of Cork County Council, MAS intends to develop an agricultural, educational and community-based home at Curraheen. The purchase represents the end of a five-year search for MAS after a Compulsory Purchase Order for their former Showgrounds home by Cork City Council.

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