US private real estate investment firm Colony Capital has been selected to buy the €1.5 billion Project Tolka loan portfolio from Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).
Colony beat competition from Madison International Realty and Lone Star Funds, according to the Irish Independent newspaper, which first broke the story.
CoStar News reported that Colony is to pay in the region of €450 million for the loan book.
The loans are reported to be predominantly linked to Irish developers John Flynn, Paddy Kelly and the McCormack family who control Alanis Capital. Among the underlying properties within the portfolio are the Burlington Plaza office building on Dublin’s Burlington Road, the Clarion Hotel in the Liffey Valley area of Dublin and the HQ of betting company Paddy Power.
During 2015, NAMA pulled the Project Tolka sale as John Flynn was in talks to refinance his debt, although the sale was relaunched through Eastdil Secured in May this year, according to a separate report by The Irish Times.
The loan sale is the second to be agreed by NAMA this month. Cerberus Capital Management has been selected as the preferred bidder for Project Gem, a circa €3 billion face-value loan book. Cerberus beat competition including from Oaktree Capital Management and Goldman Sachs. Eastdil Secured also handled the sale of Project Gem.
In September, investment banking firm Evercore’s European Distressed Real Estate Market report said that Irish volumes are gradually slowing with NAMA’s loan book diminishing as its business focus starts to shift towards residential development. However, Ireland was the second most active country in 2016 at that point, behind the Netherlands, with more than €5.5 billion of closed sales.