A Special Report
FAIRLY SLIM - that now seems the most optimistic outcome for hopes expressed earlier this this summer that the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) might get engaged in funding the Sligo town centre shopping development.
That development had been planned by Callside, a Treasury Holdings subsidary. Both are now in Receivership at the instigation of NAMA, whose decision is being challenged in the High Ciourt.
Back in May, some crumbs of comfort were offered, though, to Sligo Borough Council members who were told its executive, Callside and the Receivers had met on the matter.
''They (Receivers) are unwilling to make any decision at this time because they have got to go back to NAMA, because they have control of the money," said the Council's Acting Director of Services, Paula Gallagher, in a report to members on Monday May 14th last.
She added: ''The Receiver has advised us they are doing a comprehensive review and has advised us they are not able to give a definitive date.
Four Shopping Centres
''They are very unlikely to be starting soon on the project,'' Ms Gallagher stated. After the thorough review had been completed for the Receivers, there would be a recommendation to NAMA ''to either fund or not fund'' the Treasury Holdings proposal for Sligo town, she explained.
In her final comment that night ten weeks ago Ms Gallagher observed: "The only way NAMA can make money (out of Sligo) is to build it."
Cllr Matt Lyons said in May that he couldnt see NAMA funding the Sligo development. Let's wait and see," he added.
It has now emerged that NAMA has been involved in delivering three shopping developments -- in Laois, North County Dublin and Co. Waterford at a cost of €47 million euro.
That's according to its Annual Report and Financial Statement for 2011, released yesterday.
A further €13 million of NAMA funds has been committed to end of May 2012 for next phase of a fourth shopping centre, the Charlestown shopping centre in Co Dublin.
However, the Debenhams development proposed by Callside for Sligo town centre before its parent company Treasury Holdings was acquired by NAMA is costed at €80 million in current terms - ie 33% greater than the entire NAMA commitment in other counties.
Meanwhile, Sligo got fairly short shrift -- with just one word of reference -- in the entire 157 page annual report of NAMA, which was released yesterday.
That reference is in context of a county-by-county graph showing where NAMA holds property and its value. (folio 20 of Report, Figure B - search page: 23).
Just seven per cent of NAMA's portfolio is held in Connacht/Ulster, the lowest of any region. Dublin at 61% and Cork at 11% account for the bulk.
Bigger issues arise from the graph produced in what is titled the 2011 annual report. For instance, it appears the values shown yesterday for each county are November 2009 values.
That might partly explain why the Minister for Finance, Mr Noonan, gave short shrift, too, to a recent Dail query from Sinn Fein's finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty, which sought a county-by-county breakdown of the NAMA property portfolio.
These values in yesterday's NAMA report may have decreased further since then; commercial property has declined by an average of 24% since November 2009 (cf Jones Lang LaSalle), while residential property nationally is down 31% since 2009, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Development property is probably down 20%...but there is no national index index for this property segment.
So, the key crux would seem to be two words - Property Prices. There has been a continued decline since July 2010 and these prices have stabilised in Dublin (alone), NAMA suggests.
In launching its annual report yesterday NAMA spoke of the desirability of a register which would accurately describe prices paid for all properties sold in Ireland.
Howver, NAMA's Annual Report itself fails to offer any register of properties held/sold in Sligo, if any.
Secondly, the annual report also fails to identify property developers in Sligo, if any, remunerated by NAMA, nor did it offer any county-county breakdown of who/where these developers are....
NAMA has sometimes re-engaged property developers and former owners of assets it has taken on board.
Last October NAMA Chairman Frank Daly told the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that it was "a commercial decision" to pay developers who co-operated with the Agency.
The majority, said Mr Daly, received between between €70,000 to €110,000, while two major developers receive €200,000.
These payments to developers are made "on a case-by-case bass in the interest of getting a return for the taxpayer," the PAC was told.
Click on 'Annual Report and Financial Statement 2011' under heading 'Publications' http://www.nama.ie/