Major port site sale

CORK harbour and port amenity with a deep water jetty at Marino Point is to be sold after a ‘Best Bids’ process in October, with a price expectation of up to €7m indicated.

Major port site sale

The decision to take the 114-acre strategically sited property to sale finality was taken by agents DTZ, acting for receiver/manager David Hughes of Ernst and Young.

That facility’s purchase and new uses repeatedly have been linked to Port of Cork, and discussions about a Port takeover have taken place intermittently in recent years, but never progressed to a sale. Other possible purchasers have also expressed interest in the key-located site, principally for energy generation and production, mostly linked to biomass, and the utility of a having jetty capable of berthing 25,000 tonne ships, next to a rail line, is seen as a strong asset.

It changed hands in 2003, for a reported €23 million, with former publican the late Hugh O’Regan of the Thomas Read chain of pubs as purchaser, with local support.

Mr O’Regan was also involved in the development of Kilternan on 330 acres in south Dublin, spending close to €180m on it. Still unfinished, Kilternan is for sale now with a €5m-10m guide quoted by Marcus Magnier of Colliers, who reports progress on a sale there for a receiver. Offers of up to €40m were reported by 2008 on Cork’s former IFI amonia/urea fertiliser plan site, but it never sold, and its value plummeted in the economic downturn.

The company now associated with its ownership has been in E&Y receivership for at least five years, and now it looks like matters are being brought to a head to try and dispose of Marino Point, near Cobh, Fota and Passage West.

Best bids are being sought by October 17.

Agents Frank Ryan and Peter O’Flynn of DTZ Sherry FitzGerald admit the property “has had a somewhat chequered past, in recent years,” but stress that “the deep water jetty and a gross land area extending to 114 acres is still an interesting prospect for this major strategic asset.”

The Cork-Cobh rail line runs through the site (a special bulk ammonia train ran to IFI Marino Point and to Arklow until the 1980s), and this also seemed to strengthen the presumption that Port of Cork would acquire Marino Point after its earlier plans to redevelop Ringaskiddy were shot down by An Bord Pleanala as it did not include rail connectivity (although a rail line passes Port of Cork’s existing Tivoli sites.)

According to DTZ there has also been market interest in the property for power generation because of the ‘on-site’ network connections, to both the ESB and Bord Gáis grids.

No reserve price is quoted, though it’s hope to make close to €7m given its scale and scope.

* Details: DTZ Sherry FitzGerald, 021-4275454.

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