€2.7m SURGE IN SALES AT GHOST ESTATE - A Clare ghost estate which was dogged by controversy has seen a surge in sales with property worth €2.73m being snapped up in just 10 days, a local developer has revealed. There were queues of people waiting to purchase bargain homes in the unfinished Ard na Deirge estate in Killaloe recently - 16 months after local homeowners staged a protest about the delay in taking up occupancy, writes the Irish Independent. John Walsh of Cherry Fox Developments, Limerick, has confirmed that eight four-bedroom detached homes sold for €160,000 while 10 three-bedroom semi-detached homes reached €145,000. The same houses were on the market for €375,000 and €300,000 respectively at the height of the Celtic Tiger back in 2007. There was no shortage of buyers at the time, most of whom pulled out after seeing the development work drag on for years. Having completely transformed the derelict site since it was taken over by Cherry Fox Developments a few months ago, Mr Walsh said there was a great demand for houses in the estate. There are currently 10 prospective buyers on a waiting list in the event that one of the sales for the 18 houses falls through.
PATRON TEAMS UP WITH O'CALLAGHAN IN NEW RETAIL PARTNERSHIP - Patron Capital Partners has formed a new retail and residential partnership with Brian O’Callaghan, the son of well known Cork developer Owen O’Callaghan. Patron has already begun working on its first joint project with Mr O’Callaghan to operate and expand the Northside Shopping Centre on the northern fringe of the M50 in Coolock, Co Dublin, says the Irish Times. The UK and Luxembourg property fund with €2.5 billion under management acquired the centre in May from the National Asset Management Agency. The shopping centre was a key asset in a portfolio of loans bought by Patron, which are associated with developer Brian O’Farrell. The loans had a face value of €225 million. Other assets in the portfolio include a retail centre in Poland, a potentially valuable site in north Dublin and a large house in the K Club. The fund continues to work with Mr O’Farrell, who is understood to be advising it on how to build out a prime development site in north Dublin near the Northside Shopping Centre, which is part of his former portfolio as well as helping it with the rest of his assets.
€17m DROMOLAND REVENUE FORECAST - The general manager of the five-star Dromoland Castle hotel, Mark Nolan, said he expects the revenues at the hotel and adjoining Inn at Dromoland to top €17m this year, says the Irish Examiner. Celebrating 25 years in the post this year, Mr Nolan said: "We are in a growth pattern at the moment and Dromoland Castle has enjoyed a 93% bed occupancy over the past six weeks and a lot of that is down to very significant North American business we secured three years ago." In 2012, Dromoland purchased the adjoining Clare Inn hotel for €2.1m and spent additional monies in the fitting out and rebranding of the hotel as the Inn at Dromoland. Refurbishment costs at the Inn at Dromoland hit profits at the group last year. "We were a little unrealistic in our aims for the hotel last year, but it is on its way to being one of the best three-star hotels in the country," Mr Nolan said. "The business there is moving in the right direction and it is hitting budget at the moment," he added.
ITALY ON TRACK TO HIT EU TARGETS, SAYS RENZI - Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister, says the euro zone’s third-largest economy is on track to hit its EU-mandated budget targets this year despite falling back into recession in the second quarter. In a pugnacious interview with the Financial Times, he defended the speed at which his reforms are moving. Mr Renzi, speaking in the prime minister’s office in Rome, rejected suggestions made by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi last week that the EU should intervene in countries where reforms were not being implemented fast enough to spur economic growth. "I agree with Draghi when he says that Italy needs to make reforms but how we are going to do them I will decide, not the Troika, not the ECB, not the European Commission," he said. "I will do the reforms myself because Italy does not need someone else to explain what to do." On Wednesday it was revealed that Italy unexpectedly fell back into recession in the second quarter for the third time since 2008. The economy shrank 0.2% quarter-on-quarter between April and June, after contracting 0.1% in the first three months of the year, having only briefly emerged from two years of recession at the end of 2013. Economists have said the fall in gross domestic product may result in the general government budget deficit breaching the EU’s 3% of GDP threshold for 2014.