Original Florentine Centre developer who ended up in NAMA snaps up former Bray Golf Club lands for €27.6m
The original developer of the Florentine Centre has bought the 52.6-acre Harbour Point site on the former Bray Golf Club lands.
Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Properties has acquired the lands which has potential for 1,400 homes after it was put on sale earlier this year for €27.6m.
The site, which has consistently flooded in previous decades, has planning permission for several hundred houses and commercial premises.
The plans for the site were first mooted in the early 2000s and in 2008 the original developers were given the go-ahead for the €2bn town centre in Bray despite the economic downturn.
Pizarro Developments was given permission for the project by An Bord Pleanala which included a hotel, 900 residential homes, as well as a cinema, offices and over 100 shops.
In December 2013, Wicklow County Council purchased the site of the proposed Florentine Shopping Centre in Bray which has been vacant for the last 10 years for just €1.95m after Mulryan’s Ballymore Properties was put into NAMA.
The council bought the site from Grant Thornton, the receiver of Florentine Properties Ltd, a company formerly controlled by Mulryan’s Ballymore Properties.
The Florentine Centre has now been rebranded as Bray Town Centre is now set to open in June 2020.
Before the financial crisis, the Pizarro Developments consortium, led by Paddy Kelly, had earmarked the golf club lands for a €2bn development.
Ballymore will now buy the Harbour Point site from receiver Deloitte, which is within walking distance of Bray train station and Dart services and comes with a 10-year planning permission in place since June 2010.
The existing plans include a 58,000sqm retail centre, 950 apartments, a cinema complex, bars, restaurants, hotel, offices and basement car parking.
But Ballymore will draw up its own plan, likely to have a heavier focus on housing, with up to 1,400 homes and up to 25,000sqm of commercial and ancillary space.
Mr Mulryan said: “At Ballymore, we believe that community spirit and a shared identity brings more value to a development than bricks and mortar.
“I was particularly attracted to Bray, a long-established community of young families, professionals and outdoor enthusiasts with several local schools and sports clubs nearby. Our Harbour Point development will complement and enhance these elements”.
The Florentine Centre was valued at €100m during the boom and was expected to open its doors its doors to the public in the autumn of 2006.
The plans for almost 100 apartments, 25 retail outlets and 600 parking spaces fell through as the country faced economic collapse.
Although Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore was a NAMA Top 10 developer, the deal that saw the Council buy the site was not with NAMA but with the Bank of Scotland (Ireland (BoSI)).
On January 25, 2013, BoSI had Stephen Tennent and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton appointed as receivers of certain assets owned by Florentine Properties Limited, where Sean Mulryan was a director, and a company owned by Ballymore Ireland Group Limited.
The project was beset by problems from the start and the site had been regarded as a hole in the centre of the town for almost 15 until the current works began.
Works originally began on the Florentine Centre in May 2004 but stalled following the threat of legal action from a local business in relation to sewer works.