Speculation over Spawell’s new owner
By Mary Dennehy
THE mystery surrounding the €9 million sale of the Spawell to an unknown buyer is fuelling the imagination, and tongues, of locals – with Irish millionaire JP McManus the latest horse to enter the race.
Since the GAA was outbid for the Templeogue leisure facility back in June, rumours are rife concerning the mystery buyer – who was represented by Davy Property Investment.
The GAA’s bid for the coveted development site, which was put on the market for €6.5 million, hoped to pave the way for a 25,000 capacity stadium by Dublin GAA.
However, the Dublin County Board failed to table the winning bid after the investment fund outbid them by €1 million.
In recent weeks, speculation concerning the buyer has seen some of the country’s top property movers and shakers named as the potential buyer, including high-profile publican Louis Fitzgerald and the Comer Brothers, who recently bought and successfully re-opened Tallaght’s Glashaus hotel.
Both Fitzgerald and a spokesperson for the Comer Brothers have confirmed to The Echo that they’re not the mystery buyer, leaving room for speculation that it’s the colourful businessman, JP McManus.
Speaking to The Echo, Louis Fitzgerald said: “I think it’s disgraceful that the GAA didn’t get it, and I’m appalled that this was allowed to happen.
“I’m a GAA man myself and I wouldn’t have undercut a development like this.
“This was a once-off opportunity to build something of benefit for young people in Dublin and I think whoever did buy it should go back and negotiate with the GAA.”
A source close to The Echo this week revealed that JP McManus is the man behind the €9 million transaction.
However, Mr McManus is currently out of the country and The Echo was unable to put the question to him – and it’s likely, that by the time he does get back, someone else will have taken his place as the rumoured buyer.
The Spawell site covers an area of around 35 acres and is currently home to nine businesses, with a rental income of over €600,000.
Included in the sale of the complex was planning permission for the construction of a five-storey hotel, two-storey leisure centre and over 550 car parking spaces – which is valid until April 2020.
According to GAA insiders, the Dublin County Board has not yet given up on the Templeogue site and is hoping to open up negotiations with the new buyer.
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