The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) has told developers that it is sticking with the April 20th deadline for final bids on the former Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend, Dublin.
The State agency has been seeking partners to develop the 37-acre site on the south bank of the River Liffey, thought to be worth €130 million before Covid-19 struck, since last year.
Nama has written to developers who took part in the second round of its tendering process confirming that the deadline for final bids remains April 20th.
Originally the agency had set a deadline in March, but postponed that some time ago, for reasons other than the coronavirus, until the new date in April.
Bidders were said to include Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Group, which was regarded as a leading player in the race to develop the Irish Glass Bottle site.
His firm worked closely with interested parties such as Dublin City Council as it prepared its tender.
US group Hines also took part in the process. A partnership of Johnny Ronan's Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) and Los Angeles property company Colony Capital also put in a bid, as did British developer Quintain.
Irish developer Marlet, led by Pat Crean, is known to have bid in the early stages of the auction.
Property sources were sceptical yesterday of the agency’s prospects of attracting final bids in light of the Covid-19 crisis.
They noted that banks and other financiers were unlikely to commit to backing projects at this point, even if there is a clear prospect of the authorities easing coronavirus restrictions.
“Everything is paused at the moment,” said one. The source added that banks were telling developers that they were unlikely to commit to backing any projects now.
Instead, they are telling builders to come back in three or four months, and to expect tougher credit terms than those on offer before Covid-19 struck.
Ardagh sold the Irish Glass Bottle site in 2007 for a record €412 million to a consortium that included the now wound up State body, the Dublin Docklands Development Board. The property, which once housed a bottle manufacturing plant, has lain undeveloped since then.
Building on high-profile projects across the Republic halted last week after the Government extended restrictions to “non-essential” construction. Work had already stopped on many commercial developments.