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March 6, 2009

Brakes are on and plans are on hold, but Treasury says it’s in it for long haul

Twenty years after it was conceived as a project and following three competitions for the tender to build it, the National Conference Centre (NCC) is well under way at Spencer Dock, on a pivotal Liffeyside site controlled by developers Treasury Holdings – and it looks as if the massive building will be completed on schedule by September 2010. Richard Barrett and Johnny Ronan, who own Treasury and its multiplicity of subsidiaries and who control two publicly quoted companies – Real Estate Opportunities (REO) and China Real Estate Opportunities (CREO) – are old hands at the property game and show no signs of cashing in their chips at this stage; they’re in it for the long haul. Even at a time of recession and with the commercial property market in the doldrums, they are building two major office schemes – one called Montevetro in the Grand Canal Dock, funded by a 50 per cent pre-sale to a Quinlan Private syndicate, and the other at Central Park, Leopardstown, in partnership with David Arnold and Derek Quinlan. This bullish behaviour is remarkable when not a single tenant has yet been lined up for either scheme, which will deliver 18,600sq m and 16,700sq m of office space respectively. As a result, it is likely that No 1 Central Park will be built only to “shell and core” until tenants are found, by offering rental levels 50 per cent lower than in the city.

The Irish Times

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