Movement at Boland’s?

bolands mills4

Those who routinely pass Ringsend Road and Barrow Street may have noticed activity within the bounds of Boland’s Mill in March of this year.

Workers and heavy machinery were on the site for some weeks, leading some to speculate that a mass clean up is finally underway.

The site has been sealed against intrusion for safety reasons for a number of years, chiefly as a result of PCB contamination. PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) were routinely used as coolant and insulator fluids for electrical systems but are of considerable toxicity, linked to the occurrence of cancers, and are banned under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants 2001.

Boland’s Mill was one of several properties that were managed by the property management company Versus, which went into receivership in October 2010, at which time its assets were transferred to NAMA. Versus had a longstanding plan to develop the Boland’s site into 67 apartments, two houses and 13,284 square metres of office space, as well as the usual retail and leisure facilities that are supposedly a given of any such developments adjacent to the river.

The collapse of the property markets put paid to this ambition, as the value of the mill fell by 84% in just two years, a stomach-churning plunge from an estimated worth of €61 million in 2007 to just €9.9 million by 2009.

Since NAMA acquired the property in 2010, it has been handed over to Savills Commercial Property Management, who told NewsFour “There is no construction activity currently taking place at the site.”

In July of last year, the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) announced that a lack of prime commercial property in Dublin could harm investment prospects in the future.

The same month, NAMA announced its collaboration with Oaktree Capital Management, one of the world’s leading firms in distressed asset management. However, since Savills acquired the property in June 2012, the ultimate fate of the site is still a matter of speculation.

By Rúairí Conneely