€400m city project may rise from the ashesOctober 26, 2012 - 7:15am
BY ENDA CUNNINGHAM
The abandoned €400 million Crown Square development in Mervue could be given a new lease of life, after NAMA sought an extra five years to finish construction work.
The site was abandoned at the end of 2008 when bank funding dried up. Despite the efforts of project backers Padraic Rhatigan, Walter King and Bernard McKeon to get the project back on track earlier this year, the National Asset Management Agency appointed receivers on July 16.
Receivers Patrick Horkan and Kieran Wallace of KPMG have now sought a five-year Extension of Time for the project, until October 2017. The existing permission expired on September 13.
“The development has not been completed to date due to the decline in the economy in Ireland resulting in a lack of finance being available to complete the development,” the receivers told city planners.
The second phase of construction had begun on the site, before it was abandoned in September 2008, shortly after the developers denied to this newspaper that the project had run into trouble.
The massive 12.65 acre site was to be developed into retail units – to be anchored by homeware company Heatons – offices, a hotel and 140 apartments, as well as a ‘public piazza’ to be bigger than Kennedy Park in Eyre Square.
Just last May, a source close to the project backers told this newspaper they believed the project was still viable, and the developers were “considering their options”.
Earlier this year, NAMA was dramatically refused permission to complete the Gateway Galway (Dunnes and B&Q) shopping and residential complex off the Western Distributor Road.
The groundbreaking decision was one of the first planning refusals of its kind in the country.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.