BBC report likens development to "London Docklands"

BBC report likens development to "London Docklands"

BBC report likens development to "London Docklands"

A Ballybofey apartment development which has been at the centre of controversy in both local and national media after it went on sale at a knockdown price has been described as looking like a scene from the "London Docklands."

The Apartment Complex at Navenny Place just off Ballybofey's Main Street have been described in a BBC Radio 4 documentary as resembling a scene from the London docklands and are being used by media organisations around the world to highlight the property collapse and also as an example of how Ireland went from boom to bust.

"There's nothing particularly exclusive about the town of Ballybofey in Donegal but away from the Main Street looms a three/four storey development that wouldn't look amiss in certain areas of London's Docklands," said the report broadcast on Thursday last and repeated on Sunday last.

"It is home to 47 apartments - curved, swanky penthouses at the top, a supermarket and delis on the ground floor and an underground car park to house the swish cars belonging to the upwardly mobile.

"It also has have one particularly striking feature at the moment, it's all very quiet.

"The flats at Navenny Place remain unfinished and empty, with locals claiming it has lurched from emblem to eyesore, standing testament to the folly of the Irish building boom," continued the report.

The site, as reported in this newspaper three weeks ago, was once seen as being worth around €9.5m but went up for auction for just €11k per apartment last month on condition that all units were sold in one lot.

The marketing pitch was not helped by dozens of angry sub-contractors protesting outside the auction claiming they are owed hundreds of thousands of euro from the project.

The project was financed by Ulster Bank, part of the UK taxpayer bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland.

After Ulster Bank called in their debt, the development company went into receivership and the entire residential site went up for sale with a reserve of just €550K or around €11,700 per flat.

A spokesperson for the sub-contractors, Mary McCroary of Maine Heating and Plumbing said, "Every time you pass by the building you feel sick. Every contractor in there did their work and will be reminded of that for the rest of their lives. I stand to lose my job because of it. Do you not think our own banks are saying to us how are you going to claw back this €100K all because of 47 apartments where all the work has been done but where we haven't been paid out." Ulster Bank, said it couldn't comment on the case as it was in the hands of the receivers.