TIMING is everything in life and it has run out on Kilkenny Co-operative Mart and its 50% partner Melcorpo Ltd in their quest to develop the old mart site on Barrack Street-Castlecomer Road. National Irish Bank called time on the project last week with debts of E25 million outstanding and with no prospect of getting their money back.
A receiver has been appointed and he will sell it off to the highest bidder for between E5 million and E8 million. At the height of the property boom it was independently valued at E55 million. Should the co-op board of the mart have sold it rather than going into a joint venure with Melcorpo to devlop it?
If the co-op and Melcorpo, which was controlled by developer David Lyons, had sought planning now, they would have got it no problem but when they applied four years ago, there was no concrete plan in place for a bridge across the River Nore leading straight into and across their 14 acre site. There is now. The good news is that the mart co-op’s new mart at Cillin Hill is completely unaffected as the bank agreed to accept the 14 acres as collateral and nothing else. And while the mart co-op owes E12.5 million on the Barrack Street-Castlcomer Road site, it can walk away from the venture.
Former chief financial officer with Glanbia Plc, Geoff Meagher who has been retained by the mart co-op reiterated that the rights of the receiver appointed extended only to the Barrack Street site and had no impact on Kilkenny Co-op Livestock Mart’s business and operations at Cillin Hill.
He did say however that Kilkenny Co-op Mart has not had beneficial ownership of the site since 2003 but that it has retained legal ownership. “This is a technical matter to be dealt with by the Receiver,” he said.
Full story and consequences on Page 5.