The National Asset Management Agency will start paying off the second half of its €30.2 billion debt tomorrow with the repayment of a €1 billion bond.
The transaction comes as the “bad bank” backs the €150 million redevelopment of the landmark Boland’s Mill site at the south Dublin docks, the first project to be undertaken within an ambitious new planning scheme for the area.
The objective is to support the expansion of the financial services sector in the city as well as the development of new hubs for technology firms and multinational investment.
Nama has already paid down €15.1 billion of its debt, achieving two years ahead of schedule the 50 per cent repayment target originally set for 2016.
The redemption of a further €1 billion brings repayments this year to €8.6 billion and total repayments since the agency opened to €16.1 billion, representing 53 per cent of the total debt.
The agency is working to complete the disposal of its assets by 2018, two years earlier than planned.
The latest Nama debt redemption comes amid separate preparations by the National Treasury Management Agency to repay some €9 billion of the State’s IMF debt by the end of this year.
Nama, which remains on track to turn a modest profit for the Exchequer, was established by the Fianna Fáil-Green administration to take toxic development loans off the balance sheets of the banks in the wake of the crash. Losses incurred by the banks as a result of these disposals to Nama led to large taxpayer-funded bailouts.
As property values recover, Nama received a mandate from the Government earlier this to year to intensify its involvement in the Dublin market as part of a drive to boost the supply of offices and homes in the the city and its hinterland.
The agency has large cash reserves at its disposal, meaning it can deploy its “influence” in the market and its financial resources to step up development activity.
Nama is providing funding for a planning application for a 14-storey redevelopment of the the Boland’s Mill site which joint receivers Mark Reynolds and Glenn Crann are submitting to Dublin City Council.
Boland’s Mill plan
Warehouse buildings on the site date from the 1830s while buildings on Barrow Street date from the 1870s. The site, built for Boland’s Bakery, was in use until 2001. It was previously owned by Benton Properties, the vehicle of developer Seán Kelly, and a division of Treasury Holdings, the vehicle of developers Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett.
The new planning proposal, which includes office and apartment units, is the first to be submitted under Docklands Strategic Development Zone planning rules, a scheme introduced in May under which approval granted by the Council cannot be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
The project includes the creation of an urban quarter with new streets and open spaces opening on to Grand Canal Dock, the site of a major redevelopment during and after the property boom. Retail, restaurant, cultural and exhibition space is also planned.
“The development of the Boland’s Mill site of almost 400,000 square feet . . . will be very positive not only in terms of bringing greater vibrancy to the South Docklands area but also in terms of addressing the shortage of quality office and residential accommodation in the central Dublin business district,” said Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh.
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