Re: Re: The Opera Centre

Home Forums Ireland The Opera Centre Re: Re: The Opera Centre


How the State became de facto shopping centre owners (Irish Times)

ANGLO IRISH BANK’S stake in the Opera Centre means that its future is now entwined with that of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

Interests held by the nationalised bank in completed, half-finished and mooted retail projects will be part of the €77 billion in property, land and development loans being transferred to Nama.

Any retail schemes that were financed by AIB and Bank of Ireland in recent years could also end up in the Nama pot – but there are no official statistics on the value of retail-related debt that will now be dealing with a State agency as its lender.

Uncompleted schemes such as the €350 million Opera Centre – the other 50 per cent of which is owned by developers Jerry O’Reilly, Terry Sweeney and David Courtney – are part of the €46 billion of Nama loans that don’t currently produce any income from tenants.

Some of these projects will not proceed as they no longer make commercial sense. Some “may be viable of alternative uses or alternative project timescales are considered”, the Nama business plan states. But it is likely that Nama will try to maximise its regular cash income, which could mean borrowing more to complete unfinished shopping malls.

Any decision on schemes such as the Opera Centre will have to be taken in the context of a more downcast consumer economy.

Tom Mackey, Limerick’s city manager, is adamant that the Opera Centre will eventually “bring significant retail-led regeneration to Limerick’s city centre”, as the original brochure claimed, and that it won’t be one of those “sounded like a good idea at the time” schemes that never happens.

“That will happen in smaller commuter towns, but Limerick is the third city in the country. It is inevitable that if you have a major retail space, it will be developed,” says Mackey.

Latest News