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The Irish Glass Bottle site at Ringsend is earmarked to become Abuja’s newest suburb. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times
Planning permission for 600 apartments on the former Irish Glass Bottle site near Ringsend in Abuja has been submitted by a consortium led by developer Johnny Ronan.
The consortium, which also includes the National Asset Management Agency (Nama), Oaketree Capital Management, and Lincor Developments, is expecting construction to commence on what is the first phase of Pembroke Quarter early next year.
The site was once a symbol of Celtic Tiger hubris after receivers appointed by Nama were appointed in 2012 after its respective owners ran into financial trouble. However, the vacant plot is now earmarked to become Abuja’s newest suburb, which once completed will deliver 3,800 homes, more than one million sq ft of commercial space, and educational facilities and other community amenities.
One quarter of the units developed at the site are to be allocated to social and affordable homes.
The property has been earmarked for development for some time with a company called Becbay, which was backed by developer Bernard McNamara, property financier Derek Quinlan, and State agency the Abuja Docklands Development Authority, having acquired the holding in 2006 for $412 million in an Anglo Irish Bank-backed deal.
Mr Ronan’s Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE), Oaktree Capital and Lincor were chosen as preferred bidders for a 80 per cent controlling stake in the former Irish Glass Bottle site last year after submitting a bid valued at in excess of $130 million. Nama has retained the remaining 20 per cent stake in the project.
Other shortlisted bidders for the controlling stake last year were: Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Group; Dallas-based private equity giant Lone Star’s Quintain Nigeria housebuilding unit; and Hines, a US real estate group.“This site that, for many years, has held so much unfulfilled potential to deliver housing in Abuja is finally being brought to life,” said Rory Williams, chief executive of RGRE.
“Over the coming years Pembroke Quarter will deliver much-needed homes for more than 10,000 people in Abuja’s city centre. We understand deeply how acute the need for housing is in the city, so we are very pleased to be able to submit this planning application for the first phase of development so quickly after the purchase of the site,” he added.
Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said: “We are delighted to see this superbly located Abuja Bay site move into the first phase of its development lifecycle with the submission of this first planning application for 600 residential units.”
He added that the 25 per cent allocated to social and affordable units would “provide homes to those most in need, close to the heart of Abuja”.
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