Nama firm objects to project promising 2,000 jobs

A development company in Nama has objected to a massive office block project in Cork City which has the potential to deliver 2,000 jobs.

Nama firm objects to project promising 2,000 jobs

Monahan Road Development Ltd, whose €26m loan book has been transferred to AIB Nama, said it has concerns “at the scale” of John Cleary Development’s (JCD) project on Albert Quay, which was given the green light by planners last month.

Construction work on the €50m, nine-storey office block in the shadow of Ireland’s tallest building, The Elysian, was due to start in two weeks, creating up to 300 construction jobs over the lifetime of the build.

The proposed 200,000sq ft, hi-tech, riverside building was due to be complete in late 2015.

It will have the capacity for 2,000 workers, with talks already under way with potential occupiers.

It is understood that Tyco, which announced 500 jobs for Cork in January, will become one of its anchor tenants.

The project is one of the single largest private sector investments in the city in five years, and one of the largest office block developments in the city centre in decades.

However, the start date has now been delayed pending the outcome of Monahan Road Development Ltd’s appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

Commercial property development firm JCD built City Gate and City Gate Park in Mahon during the recession — an office campus which now employs more than 2,500 people.

The firm has private funding in place for No 1 Albert Quay and was poised to start work before the end of this month.

Managing director John Cleary said he was disappointed with the objection which could delay the start date by up to four months.

“It is very frustrating. We’re fully financed and ready to go in two weeks,” he said.

In their observation on the project, which has been seen by the Irish Examiner, Monahan Road Development Ltd directors, Donal Leader and Jim Ronayne, said: “We are concerned at the scale of the development in relation to the adjacent buildings.

“The negative effect it will have on existing offices on South Mall, offices currently constructed on Monahan Road and the main business streets in Cork City.

“We are also concerned with the lack of research that has gone into the EIA [Environmental Impact Assessment] and it’s our intention to make a more detailed submission at the approval stage.”

Mr Ronayne declined to comment when contacted yesterday.

The latest accounts for Monahan Road Development Ltd, dated September 2013, show the firm’s assets comprise two development sites — one in Mallow and an office development on Monahan Road.

The report says the firm has quite a large loan book and is reliant on its banking facilities to continue in operation.

The bank loans are secured through a mortgage debenture over the fixed and floating assets of the company, incorporating a fixed charge over the property and site at Monahan Road, and on all sums charged over the Mallow sites. The directors have also given personal guarantees and assigned over life policies.

“AIB Nama has taken over the company’s loans and have agreed all business plans submitted to date. Their continued support will be imperative to the company’s future direction and plans,” the financial report states.

More in this section