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Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency Sets Up €2bn Property Investment Plan

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**NAMA to Meet Rising Demand for Irish Property with New Developments**

Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), set up in 2009 to purge the country’s banks of their riskiest assets, has outlined plans to make “significant investments” in infrastructure, residential and commercial property developments within the Dublin Central Business District and primarily focused on the city’s Docklands area.
NAMA’s chairman, Frank Daly, said in a statement last week that the agency has set up a €2 billion (£1.75 billion) property investment programme in response to demand from foreign direct investors. The state-controlled agency’s investment plan is also designed to assist the on-going expansion of Ireland’s financial services sector and the development of new technology and business hubs in the country. The property investment programme will primarily address the current shortage of large-scale, high-quality office accommodation in Dublin Docklands area. NAMA’s representative remarked that although sites on both sides of the River Liffey will be developed under the current property investment proposals, the focus will be on the area north of the river.

As noted by Daly, the Docklands is already home to major international banks and technology companies including Citigroup, Google and Facebook. He said that the area “has been a marked success from an investment perspective”, already accommodating over 40,000 employees in the financial, banking, technology and other service sectors. NAMA’s chairman added, however, that “the area is expected to require significant new development over the medium term, particularly of commercial office space,” as demand from foreign investors gathers pace.

**Residential Projects Also in Sight**
NAMA is also evaluating residential property projects where demand exists in Dublin and in other major growth centres throughout the country. Daly has welcomed the decision by the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to designate part of the Docklands area as a Strategic Development Zone. Daly said there may be need for an entity at a national level to take a central, co-ordinating, policy development role in relation to the residential property market, particularly in terms of identifying the areas where future housing shortages are likely to arise and how such shortages might be addressed.

Disclosing details regarding the proposed property investment programme, Daly said that its timing was linked to the resolution of planning and infrastructure issues. He also said that to meet the required funding, NAMA will use part of the €1-billion-a-year budget it has already earmarked for real estate developments over the next four years.
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Daly’s statement further revealed that the agency has completed the sale of €7 billion (£6.16 billion) of property assets, and is “close to completing” deals for a further €2 billion. Currently, NAMA is overseeing sales of €1.5 billion (£1.32 billion) of Irish property and managing the disposal of more than €1.1 billion (£968 million) of Irish loans. Commenting on the prospects for the Irish real estate market, Daly said that there are many reasons to be positive about the outlook for the country, “although we [NAMA] seem to be more reticent about recognising this than do others”.

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