A Dublin golf club sale falls through

17th July 2008

A Dublin golf club sale falls through

The sale of its lands by a Dublin golf club, which would have earned each of its members €100,000, has fallen through because of the economic downturn.

Members of Clontarf Golf and Bowling Club voted last November to sell the 77-acre site occupied by the club to a property development company, Capel Developments.

The €125 million deal was described as the first of its kind in which individual members were to be paid for the sale of a golf club's land.

Members rejected a rival bid from Manor Park Homes, which offered them €125,000 each, because they said it had been made too late. Capel Developments said yesterday it had withdrawn from negotiations on the project because of the current economic climate.

"We have taken this decision in the light of the extraordinary change in the economic climate over recent months," it said in a statement. "We felt it would be imprudent to proceed at this point in time and rather than have uncertainty, we felt it would be in the best interests of both parties to inform Clontarf now."

The company said it had not taken the decision lightly and was conscious of the "excellent relationship" it had built up with Clontarf and its members over the last eight months.

"We would like to put on record our sincere thanks for the way in which Clontarf has worked with us during this time."

Capel began negotiating with the club last year and its offer prevailed at a special general meeting at Croke Park attended by 537 of club's members. Under the conditions of the agreement, the club was to relocate to the 12-year-old Portmarnock Links course where a state-of-the-art clubhouse would have been constructed.

Full members of Clontarf were to receive €100,000, female associates €22,000, five-day members €17,500, intermediate members €16,500, bowling and country members €5,000 and pavilion members €1,000. All payments would have been subject to 20 per cent capital gains tax.

In addition, Capel Developments was to pay a lump sum of €20 million to the club and, on the signing of the agreement, a non-refundable €1 million lump sum.

Clontarf Golf and Bowling Club owns about 12 acres of the site and leases 63 acres from Dublin City Council under a 99-year agreement dated from May 1991. A further two acres are owned by CIÉ.

Members of Dublin City Council had threatened to block the sale and this issue remained unresolved. Responding to the decision by Capel Developments to pull out of the deal, the club's general manager Arthur Cahill said last night: "We're very disappointed at the turn of events"

By: John O'Sullivan The Irish Times