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Nama interested in 'all proposals' amid push for vertical park in Anglo HQ

The state agency says it is open to suggestions on the now-derelict Anglo building on Dublin’s quays. One architect wants to turn it into a unique public park.

A computer-generated image of the 'vertical park' plan.
A computer-generated image of the 'vertical park' plan.

NAMA IS CONSIDERING proposals to convert the unfinished Anglo headquarters on Dublin’s North Wall Quay into a ‘vertical park’.

Architect Paschal Mahoney of Mahoney Architecture told TheJournal.ie today that he was invited to meet with two portfolio managers at Nama to outline plans he is driving to convert the multi-storey shell into a series of leafy terraces linked by public walkways.

The plans also include an outdoor venue for public meetings.

The architect said that part of the Trees on the Quays plan involves outlining how the new project would sustain itself in the future:

It would be self-generating, it would have its own income but also be significant in terms of tourism input and so on. We’ll be showing how the project will be cost-effective.

A spokesperson for the state agency told TheJournal.ie that “Nama is interested in all proposals being made for properties linked to the agency – including this building.”

“It should be noted that the agency has received a number of expressions of interest in this  property from various parties,” the spokesperson added.

Mahoney believes the infamy of the site is part of its selling point and that development of this building would increase the value of other buildings in the area which are also now controlled by Nama:

The obstacles are the fact that it’s in receivership. We would be of the view that a firesale of the site would be a flawed approach. The sale of that site, because of its symbolic value, has to be considered differently to other more anonymous sites. There’s a broader value that can be realised.

“The advice we’ve been given was that we’re entitled to submit an expression of interest which we intend to do. We will be submitting something to Nama in the near future,” Mahoney said.

Mahoney is seeking support for the vertical park project from the public as well as from politicians, and says his team has met with a senior member of government and is seeking meetings across different levels of government to discuss the proposals.

“We hope that we’d get a chance to meet Mr [Enda] Kenny on it. It creates a reality for a lot of the visions, for a lot of the rhetoric that’s coming out of government,” he said.

Nama CEO Brendan McDonagh recently told the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee that the agency is anxious to finish the half-completed Anglo building because of the effect it is having on how Ireland is viewed abroad.

“Unfortunately, it is becoming a landscape photo for Ireland internationally,” McDonagh said.

He also said that the situation was complicated because four banks and receivers were involved before Nama took over the loans.

Nama’s spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that in considering the options for the future of Anglo HQ, “both the receiver and Nama must have regard to the commercial mandate that they operate under. ”

“They can’t simply ignore the fact that the building is security against a loan now held by NAMA,” he added, saying that they have to “try to realise the ability of that asset to pay down all or part of the relevant loan”.

- Additional reporting by Michael Freeman

In pictures: Check out the proposed ‘vertical park’ plans for the Anglo building >

Poll: Would you like to see Anglo HQ turned into a ‘vertical park’? >

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