The closure of the Irish sugar industry has given food group Greencore the opportunity to become a property developer. Fruit importer Fyffes has become a big property investor. The top two banks have sold off their key properties to developers to enable them to extend further mortgage credit.
The Merrion Inn - see Dublin Pubs
Ireland's biggest hotel group JurysDoyle has already sold the sites of its two principal hotels in Dublin to a developer who plans to raze tem later this year. Today the hotel group effectively said that the opportunity to cash in on a prime site had prompted it to announce that it will sell its landmark Burlington Hotel. There were crocodile tears about the loyal staff but wouldn't it be foolish not to jump on the property bandwagon while the going is good?
We lose some big hotels - so what! Motor service stations have been the focus of developers as well. Motorists just have to be more careful to watch the gauge given the scarcity of stations!
The former Statoil service station on the Merrion Road, in South Dublin, has apparently been sold and it's rumoured that the adjacent Merrion Inn, is the target of the same individual. It has even been suggested that the Merrion Centre, which has Tesco as a tenant and offices including insurance group AIG, at the same junction, opposite the hospital, may also be on the block.
The Merrion Inn has been a longtime amenity in the area and is popular with hospital staff, visitors and nearby office workers for lunch.
We've a corrupt planning system that has been the subject of a tribunal that has been sitting since 1997. Bizarrely, there has been no change in the system that spawned the planning corruption.
Developers often take a punt when buying a site that may not be zoned for their planned type of development.
Councillors are often pliable to developer demands and while the day of the brown envelope is in the past, anyone who believes that other inducements are not deployed, is a fool.
There should simply be no planning permissions given for change of use of both the Merrion Inn and the adjacent service station.
Irish investors put €8 billion into overseas commercial property in 2006 and €3 billion into domestic commercial property.
It is expected that when figures will the published, it will be shown that less than €200 million in venture capital investment, went into Irish business in 2006 - 0.025% of what went into commercial property.