British Land, McAleer & Rushe, Bank of Ireland and NAMA all Subject to Debate and Question in the Irish Parliament – Re-Sale of (planning enhanced) 10 Portman Square (2-14 Baker Street) for 50% of Value Questioned by Senator Mark Daly


Portman Square, 1813

Portman Square, 1813 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Subject: NAMA and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Transparency Bill 2011, Second Stage Wednesday, 6 June 2012.

The proceedings and debate on this Bill in Irish National Parliament makes for interesting reading. It raises serious questions about the responsibility of organisations such as NAMA (and those who act under NAMA Authority) to the People of Ireland and to the Taxpayers who bear the burden of the failures of the Irish Property Market. The Bill, introduced by Senator Mark Daly proposed a substantive and necessary oversight of what continues to go on behind closed doors.

In the proceedings and debate, Senator Mark Daly raised specific and serious questions about the British Land development site at 10 Portman Square (formerly known as 2-14 Baker Street) – and the manner and structure of the deal between McAleer & Rushe and British Land. Senator Mark Daly also raised a question about the nature and role of Bank of Ireland and of NAMA (who British Land claim, in a document available on their website, that the repurchase of the development site on Baker Street was “with the consent of NAMA”).

Some of the questions and comments in the debate include:

“The NAMA Act set out clearly what should happen.  Section 35 of the NAMA Act stated that a code of practice should be set up by NAMA on how it would dispose of assets.  This code of practice was adopted three months later, when it said all credit facilities or securities on credit facilities would be sold in accordance with the code of practice for the governance of State bodies.  What the guidelines outlined was as follows: “The disposal of assets of State bodies or the granting of access to properties should be by auction or competitive tendering process . . . The method used should be both transparent and likely to achieve a fair and market-related price.”  That is simply not happening.

NAMA and I have been in constant contact and communication.  It disputes whether the properties it has control of through banks come under this Act.  We must ask ourselves, and any judge would ask himself or herself, what was the intention of this House when it passed the NAMA Act.  The intention of this House was that all properties would be sold in an open and transparent manner.

I have a legal opinion from barrister Mr. Donal O’Laoire, which I can provide to the Minister, that all assets, whether they be properties or loans which NAMA has control of, should be sold under the code of conduct for the sale of State assets.  Whether they are controlled by Bank of Ireland or AIB, ultimately, NAMA has given Irish taxpayers’ money to those institutions in order to keep those institutions afloat.  What we have is a situation where, as we all know, NAMA is simply not following the laws set out by this House.  That is why we are introducing the Bill, namely, to make clear that it should sell all properties and assets it has control of under the code of conduct — when I say assets, I mean loans as well as properties.  To facilitate this, it should list them on a website.”

“a more disturbing case, the details of which I will give to the Minister, is the situation of Nos. 2 to 14 Baker Street, which is an extraordinary loss to the taxpayer. ”

“For his benefit, let me outline what happened.  In September 2005, Nos. 2 to 14 Baker Street was purchased from British Land for €47.5 million.  When the bust came, they sold it after receiving planning for 50% more square footage on the site in 2009.

On 16 April they sold it back to British Land for €29 million, representing a loss of €28.2 million to the Irish taxpayer.”

“This property was not placed on the open market.  How was that in the best interests of the Irish taxpayer?  Could my colleague, Senator Coghlan, outline how on 16 April, a trust was set up in Jersey?  A legal agreement signed in Westminster City Council shows that McAleer and Rushe had a beneficial interest in this trust.  Was this to deceive the Irish taxpayer?  On 21 September 2011, in a report and a press release to the market, British Land said:

“We repurchased approximately 50% of the value it previously sold for in 2004.  We structured a three-way deal to purchase the site from McAleer and Rushe, Bank of Ireland, with the consent of NAMA”, [ I ask Senator Coghlan to note].  This acquisition has already performed very well.  Since purchased the valuers have increased the site value by 52%.”

“Does this tell us it was undersold?  Does this tell us that the market value was achieved?  It most certainly tells us that.  I could get no answer from either Bank of Ireland or NAMA — as to why McAleer and Rushe when they went into that agreement with the consent of Bank of Ireland and with the consent of NAMA, were profit sharing, which means that the money achieved first day was not the entire market value.  Was Bank of Ireland aware of this profit-sharing agreement?  Was NAMA aware?  I do not know the answer.”

“If a situation like Baker Street (referring to 10 Portmen Square – formerly known as 2-14 Baker Street) arose in the future, this Bill would ensure that everybody would know the property was for sale, that anyone could bid for it and there would be confidence in NAMA and the IBRC as a result.  At present there are back room deals going on which are not anything to do with the Department of Finance.  I have confidence in the people in NAMA but the way this is being structured at the moment, they are not selling it in accordance with the rules laid down by this House and by the laws passed in this House.”

Maybe Sherlock Holmes might be minded to add his tuppence-worth to all the shenanigan around this site and into the deal between British Land and McAleer & Rushe…..?

Advertisements
Posted in 10 Portman Square, 10 Portman Square l W1, 10portmansquare, 2-14 Baker Street, Bank of Ireland, British Land, Building Site, Commercial Development, Construction, Ireland Construction News, Irish National Parliament, Irish Parliament, Legal Action, London, McAleer & Rushe, McAleer and Rushe, Mob, NAMA, Retail Development, Tax Avoidance, UK Construction News, Uncategorized, West End, Westminster, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Westminster City Council Bends the Rules for British Land – Who says Graft is Dead?


Old boys network - if you are big, you are mighty - at least with Westminster City Council.

Westminster City Council turns a blind eye to British Land. Temporary structure licence on display on 30th May 2012 oattached to illegal temporary structure at 2-14 Bake Street (also known as 10 Portman Square). And this despite the licence having expired on 25th March 2012 – two whole months ago. Expired licence is attached to the temporary structure that is blocking a public highway (Robert Adam Street leading to Baker’s Mews) and which is still in place – with no penalty or enforcement by Westminster City Council Street Licensing. Don’t F with the big boys attitude.

Park without paying in Westminster, even for a few minutes, means instant fines and worse. At least if you are Joe Bloggs. Step out of line on planning regulations in Westminster and wham – BIG BIG trouble.

Block a whole road illegally – or pull down a major building with no dust or particulate containment and it’ll be back to the days of the dungeons. Prison – for a loooong stretched out time. Pour wet concrete over the fence of a building site – repeatedly and onto people and property on Westminster’s public highways? Shudder – it’ll be ‘off with your head’. Ignore ALL regulations and stick two fingers up at everyone – and then again with the other hand….. Chop! Westminster City Council would see you as a very very bad person. One to be eliminated from the boundaries of the City of Westminster. Banished, with no food or drink. Horse and all.

Unless you are British Land, that is. Yes, the very organisation who seem to view itself as the real monarchy of Britain. The organisation whose poetic ‘Uncle Bim the Board Man’ sings like a true song bird – a true song of power and influence. A song of strength and greatness. Company and Self, no less.

Yes, if you are British Land, the evidence points to you being allowed by Westminster City Council to do as you please. Get your contractors to play the thug to residents of Westminster and that’ll be an extra pat on the back. Sir!

Yes, don’t forget the ‘Sir’.  F the bloody residents. F Joe Bloggs and Mary Bloggs and the little ones. F them all, in fact. Who cares? A few injuries or deaths or a few more cars written off is no bad things, after all. Yeah, Westminster City Council and British Land are Buddies. Best of Buddies, in fact. Don’t mention the graft. Don’t mention that at all. No Sir, not a word. Promise! Cross me heart and all that.

McAleer & Rushe? Yeah, we’ll turn a blind eye there too. They’re best of buddies of Uncle BIM the Board Man, after all. Family, like. Got to be protected. Uncle Bim’s got £30m riding on that friendship, after all. Yeah, I remember, don’t mention the graft. Not at all. Not even once. Forget that word. F NAMA and all that. Cross me heart again, and again, and then again again.

No, don’t know what that £30m is about. Not a word of it. Old Uncle Bim and his gang had a good Bim Brag about it all the same to a bunch of Analysts. That’s Analysts with a Capital ‘A’. Important people, not that other type of ‘A’s. Yeah, and all that.

But back to Westminster City Council. If you are Joe Bloggs or anyone even distantly related – yeah, there’s the considerate builders thing. There’s all those regulations and legislations. Don’t screw up. Do it right or BANG, that’ll be you gone. Apply for all the right permits. Don’t start ahead of the permits. Consult, consult and consult. Consult with everyone. Follow the rules. Don’t cut corners. Don’t take shortcuts on Health and Safety. Whatever you do, DO NOT BLOCK THE ROAD – EVER. Don’t be rude to ANYONE. Thuggery is a BIG NO-NO. This is Civilised Society. Behave at ALL times.

BUT, BUT, BUT. None of that applies to British Land or their cronies. Bed buddies especially. Yeah, if British Land want to have illegal structures with no permits that’s fine. BUT if it’s anyone else we’ll screw them. Screw them good, in fact. And so the site at 2-14 Baker Street – also known as 10 Portman Square – EXEMPT.

Exempt from everything. No site perimeter fencing for the first nine months when there’s dust and possible asbestos flying everywhere – yeah, no problem. Naughty, but ok. Keep a temporary structure AFTER its licence has expired? Yeah – that’s ok too. No problem about the road being blocked off with no permit. F the residents anyway. Public right of way from Baker’s Mews to Robert Adam Street? F that as well. In fact F everything.

Yeah, pump that concrete over the fence – children, women, who cares. Target that bastards car – and ‘job well done’. In fact, do it again, and then do it to a few more resident’s cars. F the lot of them. The Council doesn#t care and we will turn another blind eye. How many blind eyes do I have? Graft? That’s nothing to do with blind eyes. Yeah – lets British Land, McAleer & Rushe and Westminster City Council sit down and figure out how we can go to WAR on the public in Westminster. The less of them the better. F the lot of them. It’s US and US, after all.

– – – – – –

UPDATE – 1st June 2012

Within just one day of Westminster City C0uncil being asked to explain why this construction site at 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square) is allowed to maintain temporary structures without licence and closing off public highway and footpaths, and one day after this article being published, it seems Westminster City Council have rushed through a new temporary structure licence! Considering the comments of Mr Kennedy on the 31st May  as reported in the legal notes below, why the sudden great rush to ligitimise what has been an illegal structure?

– – – – – –

For more background reading about 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square) please read other posts on this blog and namawinelake.wordpress.com

Legal Notes:

This article includes factual information relating to the operation of and site management at 2-14 Baker Street (also known as 10 Portman Square) and the position of and information from Westminster City Council. It was confirmed in a phone call with to Mr Joe Kennedy in the Street licencing team at Westminster City Council that the construction site has no current licence for the temporary structures surrounding the site. This conversation took place on 30th May 2012 – over two months after the licence displayed in this article expired. No new licence has been issued and the structures, including the closure of the roadway from Baker’s Mews to Robert Adam Street are therefore not authorised. Westminster City Council have taken no action. Indeed, Mr Joe Kennedy explained the Council’s position – he stated and agreed that the site is required by Law to ”have a current valid temporary structure licence displayed on the site”.

However he also stated, when asked whether they would take action for the failure to have such a valid licence, that Westminster City Council would not seek to enforce the failure to have a temporary structure licence. He justified this by stating that there is a big difference between erecting a new structure (without a licence) and having an existing temporary structure without a licence.

So there you have it. If you are in breach of any condition or regulation in Westminster and can show that you have been doing this previously – that, according to Mr Kennedy at Westminster City Council, would appear to be sufficient grounds to avoid prosecution. During the conversation with Mr Kennedy he huffed and puffed – not at all sounding like the wolf in ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. No, this was huffing and puffing because he clearly felt that British Land and their contractor, McAleer & Rushe, should be given free reign.

Mr Kennedy also stated he has a busy workload and displayed impatience in having to spend time discussing why this site is seemingly above the law and is being afforded preferential treatment. FOr a public servant to audibly huff and puff when dealing with a member of the public is clearly not acceptable behaviour and calls into question Westminster City Council’s whole attitude in its dealings with British Land and their site at 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square).

The developers of the site at 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square) have contributed materially to Westminster City Council by way of Public Realm Works.

This article sets out a position that there is improper response by some sections of Westminster City Council in its dealings with British Land and British Land assets – specifically in respect to several breaches of regulations on the site at 2-14 Baker Street and including where there is substantial danger to the public, where property has been damaged, where conditions have not been adhered to and where unsafe and improper practices on the site are supported by video, photographic and other recordings.

This article makes no claim whatsoever that any improper payment of funds have been paid to any party mentioned in this article.

Posted in 10 Portman Square, 10 Portman Square l W1, 10portmansquare, 2-14 Baker Street, Bank of Ireland, Boris Johnson, British Land, Building Site, Child Safety, Children, children's playground, Commercial Development, Competition, Congestion Charging London, Construction, Construction Deaths, Death, Disabled Access, Free Parking, HSE, Ireland Construction News, Legal Action, London, London Mayor, London Olympics, Mayor of London, McAleer & Rushe, McAleer and Rushe, Mob, NAMA, NAMA Wine Lake, NAMAWINELAKE, Parking in London, Retail Development, Street Parking in Marylebone, Street Parking in Westminster, Tax Avoidance, Thug, Thuggery, Tourism London, UK Construction News, Uncategorized, West End, Westminster, Westminster City Council, Where to park in London, World War III | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

McAleer & Rushe Group: Asleep on the Job – or are Liabilities Forcing an End Game?


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One can only wonder what’s going on at McAleer & Rushe Group when these two images are viewed side by side – and coupled with the fact that, according to records at Companies House, McAleer & Rushe Group accounts are now three months overdue. One week or one month late filing might be reasonable – but for a company whose loans are now sitting with NAMA in Ireland and whose performance reported in it’s 2010 figures points to a shaky business – three months is an awful long time.

The question is: Is the FD asleep on the job or are liabilities mounting up to such a level that the company is simply no longer viable? In the worse case scenario – where would a collapse of the business leave the 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square) project? Could British Land end up with NAMA as a development partner?

Information at Companies House on 30 March for McAleer & Rushe Group:

Company No. NI063407 Status: Active

Date of registration: 05/03/2007

Accounting Reference Date: 31/03 Last Accounts Made Up To: 31/03/2010 (GROUP) Next Accounts Due: 31/12/2011 OVERDUE Last Return Made Up To: 31/03/2011 Next Return Due: 28/04/2012

Posted in 10 Portman Square, 10 Portman Square l W1, 10portmansquare, 2-14 Baker Street, Bank of Ireland, British Land, Building Site, Child Safety, Children, Commercial Development, Competition, Construction, Construction Deaths, Disabled Access, Free Parking, HSE, Ireland Construction News, Legal Action, London, London Olympics, McAleer & Rushe, McAleer and Rushe, Mob, NAMA, NAMA Wine Lake, NAMAWINELAKE, Retail Development, Thug, Thuggery, UK Construction News, West End, Westminster, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

World War III Hits Westminster at 10 Portman Square


ge taken on 14th March 2012

Many years ago pigs roamed what is now modern Marylebone. This image might be mistaken for a still surviving pig stye. But this is a British Land site under the proud stewardship of McAleer & Rushe. In fact, it might also be mistaken for a war zone.

The site is 10 Portman Square (formerly known as 2-14 Baker Street). This photograph is of the public highway at the rear of the site from Robert Adam Street into Baker’s Mews.

And this is the filth that adjoining and local residents have to live with on an occuplied roadway taken over with no consultation. Would it happen anywhere else in Westminster?

This proudly displays a ‘Considerate Builders Scheme’ notice on the perimeter at Fitzhardinge Street. It is far from that. Starting January 2011, this site has been an active and real danger to local residents, to vehicular traffic, to pedestrians, cyclists and members of the public. Late February several residents had their cars damaged by concrete from the site. One of the less dangerous incidents on the site to date. On the 14th March 2012 a more serious incident happened – and one that could have had very serious consequences.

This time a substantial spillage of what appears to be concrete happened at the site perimeter between Robert Adam Street and Baker’s Mews. This spillage is evident both inside the site and outside. The photograph on the right is of the public highway and taken approximately 8 hours after the spillage was evident outside the construction site perimeter.

The concrete outside the site is evident in the unprotected narrow pedestrian pavement between Robert Adam Street and Baker’s Mews. Its effects also affected the roadway in Baker’s Mews. This pavement is used by young children, by mothers and babies and general members of the public.

Local residents suffered concrete splashes on their cloths from this incident – but it could have been much much worse.

One also wonders whether it is ‘best practice’ for a construction site to dispose of concrete spillage down a public drain – as happened on the 14th March at this construction site?

In October of 2011 Westminster City Council Street Licensing division were specifically made aware of the danger to to public – and naming this exact pedestrian passageway. There was clearly a danger to the public. There had already been falls of building material from the site onto this pavement. A request was made to oust McAleer & Rushe from their occupation of the public highway. Falling that, a request was made to install a covered walkway for pedestrian safety.

No action resulted. British Land also refused to deal with the concerns – despite several earlier major health and safety failings on their site. McAleer & Rushe adopted the same stance.

Will it take a death or serious injury before anyone acts on health and safety on this site? Is Westminster City Council really a democratic institution? Why are public and resident views and ligitimate concerns not being acted upon?

Why is a company the size of British Land willing to allow it’s brand and reputation to be put at risk by the technically bankrupt McAleer & Rushe? Why is this site continued to be given free rein on what is one of the main Olympic 2012 routes?

Though this site, in this photograph, may look like something from World War III, this is not Britain at War.

The public and residents have the right to be safe, are entitled to not be put at risk and entitled to have ligitimate concerns dealt with BEFORE incidents such as the one on the 14th March happen.

Notes to Readers: Further information about this construction site can be found on other posts on this blog – and also on the NAMAWINELAKE Blog.

Related articles

Posted in Construction, Construction Deaths, Death, Disabled Access, HSE, Legal Action, London, London Mayor, London Olympics, Mayor of London, McAleer & Rushe, McAleer and Rushe, Mob, NAMA, NAMA Wine Lake, NAMAWINELAKE, New England Quarter Development, Parking in London, Retail Development, Street Parking in Marylebone, Street Parking in Westminster, Tax Avoidance, Thug, Thuggery, Tourism London, Uncategorized, West End, Westminster, Westminster City Council, Where to park in London, World War III | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

10 Portman Square | W1: Can a Name Change Clean up a Dirty Image?


Just west of The Rocks area of Sydney.

Not quite this bad - but ANY amount of wet concrete falling onto a car is just not acceptable. Image via Wikipedia

10 Portman Square – the new name for 2-14 Baker Street. Sharper, better sounding and, perhaps a better address without having to move….. The name change may help achieve higher rents, shorter rent free enticements and might well have pointed to a clean start (or a break from the old dirty image of the past year, at least).

But the problem with renaming 2-14 Baker Street to 10 Portman Square is that McAleer & Rushe are still on-site and will remain on-site for some time. And would you trust your reputation to that firm?

The rebranding happened too early. It had been talked up at a British Land Office Analyst and Investor event in September of 2011. The website had been launched, and marketing has been under way. But, and a BIG ‘but’, McAleer & Rushe show their mettle for disaster yet again – and tar the new brand, the new name with the old brush.

Residents around the site have had their cars damaged with wet concrete this week – and solely and entirely because McAleer & Rushe are not prepared to clean up their act and adopt practices on site that prevent negative impact on those outside the site.

Local residents are P***ED off yet again. One had brickwork dropped on the roof of his car and has concrete splashed over the paintwork outside another nearby site operated by McAleer & Rushe previously. Not surprising then that McAleer & Rushe have been prosecuted already on their Baker Street sites.

And now this – more damaged paintwork on cars. Same old approach by McAleer & Rushe when complained to – poor excuses. Very poor, in fact.

Simply put – to splash concrete over cars once is once too often. To do it more than once, and taking into account the behaviour of McAleer & Rushe over the past year, is criminal.

Posted in 10 Portman Square, 10 Portman Square l W1, 10portmansquare, 2-14 Baker Street, Bank of Ireland, British Land, Building Site, Child Safety, Commercial Development, Construction, HSE, Legal Action, London, McAleer and Rushe, Mob, NAMA, Retail Development, Thug, Thuggery, Uncategorized, West End, Westminster, Westminster City Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Plundering Ireland? – Disposing NAMA Assets at 50%+ Below Value – McAleer & Rushe, British Land, Bank of Ireland and NAMA


English: Still from the 1903 moving picture Sh...
Image via Wikipedia

2-14 Baker Street | 10 Portman Square

There has been much discussion in the media and among individuals about the disposal of NAMA assets at below and at substantially below market value. Is such discussion just speculation or is it justified? The information here sets out a statement of fact and a timeline relating to just one single NAMA related site.

The information here is presented for informational purposes only and is not a pronouncement on any single party or entity. Read it and then make your own mind up. Does this represent one of those ‘shady’ or even illegal deals we hear murmurings of? Or is this legitimate business?

August and September 2005

Several media articles report on agreement between British Land and McAleer & Rushe for the sale (by BL) of 2-14 Baker Street (later renamed as 10 Portman Square). This was the second reported purchase by McAleer & Rushe from British Land – the previous deal was for the Swiss Centre in Leicester Square.

Guide price for the 2-14 Baker Street property was UK£47.5m with British Land offering it as a potential 150,000 sq. ft development opportunity.

5th October 2005

2-14 Baker Street purchased by McAleer & Rushe by British Land for UK£57.2m. Purchase funded with a Bank of Ireland loan. The property comprised 94,000 sq. ft. held on a 98 year headlease from the Portman Estate. Travers Smith acted for McAleer & Rushe Group on the acquisition.

16th December 2008

Planning Application submitted to Westminster City Council listing Owners of 2-14 Baker Street as:

  • Portman Estate (freeholder)
  • Mourant & Co Trustees Ltd and Mourant Property Trustees Ltd as Trustees of the Baker Street Unit Trust, 22 Grenville Street, St Hellier, Jersey JE4 8PX
  • Baker Street Investments Limited 17-19 Dungannon Road, Cookstown, BT80 8TL
  • EDF Energy Networks, 40 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X 7EN (who had a sub-station in the basement of the building)

Planning application filed by Gerald Eve, Chartered Surveyors and Property Consultants

16th March 2009

Planning Approval granted by Westminster City Council to McAleer & Rushe Properties Ltd. Planning consent obtained for 139,000 sq ft of office space with retail units at ground level. This is nearly 50% larger than the original building – which was 94,000 sq. ft.

16th April 2010

McAleer & Rushe sell 2-14 Baker Street back to British Land for UK£29m – representing a loss of UK£28.2m (unadjusted) despite the site having been granted planning permission for new building that will be almost 50% larger than the original.

British Land issue a press release outlining the deal. The press release announcing the deal states “As part of the sale arrangement, McAleer & Rushe will take a share in the development profits.”

Notes: 2-14 Baker Street is a prime Central London location at the start of Baker Street and adjoining Portman Square. Property prices in the vicinity were not unduly affected by the property downturn.

The property was not placed on the open market. Commenting on the deal, JP Morgan say of British Land that they are “on the right side of the trade”

16th April 2010

Incorporation of 2-14 BAKER STREET TRUSTEE NO.1 Limited; and 2-14 BAKER STREET TRUSTEE NO.2 Limited in Jersey. A legal agreement signed with Westminster City Council in 2010 shows a connection between these entities and McAleer & Rushe.

11th October 2010

Planning Memorandum and Agreement signed with Westminster City Council. The agreement is signed as a Deed by 2-14 BAKER STREET TRUSTEE NO.1 LIMITED acting in its capacity as co-trustee of the Baker Street Unit Trust and signed by Andrew McNulty.

Memorandum and Agreement parties listed as:

  1. The Portman Estate Nominees (One) Limited and The Portman Estate Nominees (Two) Limited
  2. 2-14 BAKER STREET TRUSTEE NO.1 LIMITED and 2-14 BAKER STREET TRUSTEE NO.2 LIMITED acting in their respective capacities as trustees of the Baker Street Unit Trust
  3. The Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster

Important Note: P34 of McALeer & Rushe Annual Accounts for 2010 and filed in March 2011 lists companies in which the directors of McAleer & Rushe own interests. This lists Baker Street Unit Trust as belonging to the directors of McAleer & Rushe. Note that it is listed not as an entity belonging to McAleer & Rushe – but is specific in stating it to be one of “a number of other companies in which Mr S McAleer and Mr E Lafferty have declared interests…”

21st March 2011

McAleer & Rushe submit a business plan to NAMA

22nd March 2011

McAleer and Rushe file annual accounts. Loss of £11m on turnover of UK£62m. Turnover down 45% from the previous year. As at March 2010 the company had £51m of term loans and a further UK£10m of overdrafts. All loans repayable on demand – implying there had been a breach of covenant. Auditor expresses uncertainty about “going concern”.

29th March 2011

BBC reports McAleer & Rushe loans taken over by NAMA – http://tinyurl.com/7zdhpcx

21st September 2011

Nigel Webb of British Land presents to a Offices Analyst & Investor Event at the British Land head office in London. The presentation document (page 19) refers to ‘10 Portman Square’ which was previously known as ‘2-14 Baker Street’ and wrongly refers to the sale of the property to McAleer & Rushe as a transaction that took place in 2004 instead of the correct 2005. See http://tinyurl.com/7dcfoh4

Excerpts from Nigel Webb’s presentation;

“…. we repurchased for approximately 50% of the value it previously sold for in 2004, we structured a three-way deal to purchase the site from McAleer and Rushe and the Bank of Ireland, with the consent of Nama.”

This is not an insignificant achievement.”

The acquisition has already performed very well to date. Since purchase, the valuers have increased the site value by 52% net of capex.”

Summary Points

So we have a site that has been sold with NAMA approval and with the agreement of Bank of Ireland (according to Nigel Webb of British Land) for at least half it’s real value. Where this leaves the bank loan raised for the original purchase of the site is unknown at this stage. But that loan (or any remaining part of) is now with NAMA.

In the year following the reacquisition of 10 Portman Square (2-14 Baker Street) by British Land – we have a senior employee of British Land (in the presence of members of the Board of British Land, and other senior management) boasting to analysts and investors that “…. we repurchased for approximately 50% of the value it previously sold for in 2004, we structured a three-way deal to purchase the site from McAleer and Rushe and the Bank of Ireland, with the consent of Nama.” And then rubbing it in with the comment “This is not an insignificant achievement.” And then boasting again that “Since purchase, the valuers have increased the site value by 52% net of capex

You Decide

Is this deal reflective of a straight and smart business transaction – or are you inclined to wonder or speculate whether this represents a case of asset-stripping the Irish State by disposing NAMA assets (and/or NAMA bound/NAMA Related) below market value.

Of course there is an added question as to why this property was not offered by McAleer & Rushe – or Bank of Ireland – or NAMA on the open market……

Posted in 10 Portman Square, 10 Portman Square l W1, 10portmansquare, 2-14 Baker Street, Bank of Ireland, Boris Johnson, Brighton & Hove City Council, British Land, Building Site, Child Safety, Children, children's playground, Commercial Development, Competition, Congestion Charging London, Construction, Construction Deaths, Disabled Access, HSE, Legal Action, London, London Mayor, London Olympics, Lottery Winner, Mayor of London, McAleer and Rushe, Mob, NAMA, NAMA Wine Lake, NAMAWINELAKE, Parking in London, Retail Development, Street Parking in Marylebone, Street Parking in Westminster, Tax Avoidance, Thug, Thuggery, Tourism London, Uncategorized, West End, Westminster, Westminster City Council, Where to park in London | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Q&A: 2-14 Baker Street | 10 Portman Square, British Land and McAleer & Rushe


2-14 Baker Street which has been renamed as 10 Portman Square, British Land and McAleer & Rushe.

Q&A: Background and Facts

Subject: 2-14 Baker Street10 Portman Square), London W1

Background and Facts

McAleer & Rushe originally bought British Land’s  interest in the 2-14 Baker Street | 10 Portman Square site for £57.2m. At the time, British Land said the price agreed was “significantly above” its March 2005 book  value.

News of the deal was reported widely at the time including in the Belfast Telegraph. Interestingly, the deal was well beyond the capabilities of McAleer & Rushe who then borrowed the funds from Bank of Ireland. That loan is now with NAMA.

16th April 201o. British Land hits the jackpot – buying back the site in a deal reported at £29m – an incredible £28.2m profit on a ‘boomerang’ transaction. It appears Bank of Ireland is the loser – and ultimately the Irish State.

McAleer & Rushe sold the 2-14 Baker Street | 10 Portman Square site back to British Land. The site, out on holiday for five years, goes home. At a healthy profit for British Land!

Questions: What was the site at 2-14 Baker Street really worth in 2005, and what was it worth in March 2010? Property indexes suggest that land values in Central Lo9ndon increased between 2005 and 2010.

What were the ‘private‘ arrangements between British Land and McAleer & Rushe?

The LSE announcement of the deal is dated the 16th April 2010.

Hidden Aspects of the Deal? Why go offshore?

1. On the 16th April 2010, 2-14 Baker Street Trustee No. 1 Limited (Registered Number  105523) and 2-14 Baker Street Trustee No. 2 Limited (Registered Number 105524) were registered with the Jersey Financial Services Companies Registry.

2. On 28th February 2011 the annual returns for the two companies named above were filed. Both these list the shareholders as being:

Surname: “Dominion Charitable Trust“; and

Forename: “Dominion Trust as Trustees of The”

Question: What is the real ownership of these two companies registered in Jersey on the 16th April 2010? Why are the real owners names not included? What agreement pertains to or connects 2-14 Baker Street to these two Jersey registered companies?

Is NAMA aware of these two companies?; and

Is McAleer & Rushe or any of their directors or associates (or wives, or wives of friends or family) party to these two Jersey registered companies (or either one)?

Some Clarification on the Offshore Trusts (February 2012)

On McAleer & Rushe Annual Accounts 2010 the company lists Baker Street Investments Limited and Bakers Street Unit Trust as entities owned by their directors.

The Planning memorandum and Agreement signed is signed as a Deed by 2-14 BAKER STREET TRUSTEE NO.1 LIMITED acting in its capacity as co-trustee of the Baker Street Unit Trust and signed by Andrew McNulty.

London Stock Exchange Announcement on 16th April 2010

In the London Stock Exchange announcement of the acquisition of 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square) on the 16th April 2010, there is a statement as follows:

A joint development agreement has been entered into with McAleer & Rushe whereby British Land acts as the development manager and McAleer & Rushe, an established construction group based in Northern Ireland, is the contractor for the scheme. As part of the sale arrangement, McAleer & Rushe will take a share in the development profits.”

Question: What is the mechanism enacted whereby McAleer & Rushe will take a share of the development profits of the development at 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square)?

Is there any connection between this mechanism and the two companies registered in Jersey Registered numbers 105523 and 105524 respectively?

What is the mechanism and any beneficiary terms in respect to any liability of (and disclosures by) McAleer & Rushe referencing their Bank of Ireland Loans and any liabilities that now fall within NAMA.

What are the full workings of and all details pertaining to the establishment of the two companies named above and registered in Jersey. Please ensure you explain why these companies have been set up offshore.

Disclosure to British Land Shareholders?

Question: Has British Land disclosed any interest in or role in the two Jersey registerd companies (Registered numbers 105523 and 105524 respectively) to their shareholders – and are details of any participation in or ownership in offshore trusts contained in their annual report?

How will the proceeds of the entire deal be divvied out between British Land and McAleer & Rushe?

Are there other beneficiaries?

British Land Office Analyst Event 21 September 2011 – commentary on 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square)

“...with 10 Portman Square, which we had sold six years previously, with a purchase at a 50% discount to that previous sale price. That purchase, at £254 a square foot capital value of the buildable floor area, looks a better deal every day.” David Lockyer, talking on British Land’s asset management.

“At 10 Portman Square, which we repurchased for approximately 50% of the value it previously sold for in 2004, we structured a three-way deal to purchase the site from McAleer and Rushe and the Bank of Ireland, with the consent of Nama…” “ This is not an insignificant achievement.” ”The acquisition has already performed very well to date. Since purchase, the valuers have increased the site value by 52% net of capex.”Nigel Web talking on British Land’s Office Development Program.

These comments serve to add to the questions about this whole deal and particularly calls into question why McAleer & Rushe sold a site at £30m below what British Land now admit is the true market value.

Legal Statement: The author of this article makes no claim of any wrongdoing by any party named here or by any party who can claim association of any of the events, properties, banks, companies or indivuals named here either directly or indirectly or by association.

This article presents publicly available information and poses questions relating to this public information.

This article and its author make no specific claim of any connection real or intangible or otherwise between McAleer & Rushe and/or British Land or any other party with a commercial interest in 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square), and the two companies registered in the same name in Jersey on the same date as the sale of the said property (16th April 2010) by McAleer & Rushe to British Land Plc.

Further questions about this deal have been raised on the blog NAMA WineLake and elsewhere.

Related articles
Posted in 2-14 Baker Street, Boris Johnson, Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton & Hove Council, British Land, Building Site, Child Safety, Children, Commercial Development, Competition, Construction, HSE, Legal Action, London, London Mayor, McAleer and Rushe, Mob, NAMA, Retail Development, Tax Avoidance, Thug, Thuggery, Uncategorized, West End, Westminster | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Brighton & Hove Council Legal Action against McAleer & Rushe


In what may be more evidence of skullduggery by McAleer & Rushe (or, perhaps, further evidence that they are simply broke?), the firm is facing yet another legal action. This time by Brighton & Hove Council in what the BBC refers to as being “over its alleged failure to build a children’s playground.”

The case is due to be heard at Brighton Magistrates Court on 8 December. The action follows the failure of McAleer & Rushe to comply with a planning enforcement notice requiring them to build the  playground near Brighton Station. The requirement and obligation to build a playground was a condition of planning permission for a scheme which includes a hotel, office and homes.

Maybe the Council will be better served by suing for the costs of the playground (along with punative damages). They might well want to consider the Health and Safety record of McAleer & Rushe. However, it seems questionable, considering the auditor comments on the viability of McAleer & Rushe in their latest annual report as to whether the firm might be able to pay. In which case it might be interesting to look more closely at some of the questions posed on another post on this blog.

Related articles
Posted in 2-14 Baker Street, Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton & Hove Council, Brighton and Hove, British Land, Building Site, Child Safety, Children, children's playground, Commercial Development, Construction, HSE, Legal Action, London, McAleer and Rushe, Mob, NAMA, New England Quarter Development, Playground, Retail Development, Uncategorized, West End, Westminster | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Child killed by construction site failures on Baker Street despite known risks


This could be the headline reporting on British Land‘s construction site at 2-14 Baker Street operated by McAleer & Rushe. After many months (nearly 10) of site safety failures, serious health and safety lapses and procedures necessitating interventions by Westminster City Council – it seems they continue to ignore BASIC health and safety practices – preferring what appears to be the cheapest ‘quick fix’ solutions.

The picture above is taken at the rear of the British Land site at ‘2-14 Baker Street’. This image is taken to the rear of the site at a narrow pedestrian walkway between Baker’s Mews and Robert Adam Street.

The roadway alongside this pedestrian walkway was closed off 10 months ago without consultation. It is probably illegal in that a lighting standard in the pavement prevents access to wide wheelchairs, parents with wide buggies and the infirm.

It also a death trap.

Residents have been complaining about the site at ‘2-14 Baker Street’ to Westminster City Council, to British Land and to McAleer & Rushe since early in the year about the dangers of this site to members of the public. This includes real dangers posed continuously to date to children living in the vicinity of the site.

But many of these legitimate complaints about the site at ‘2-14 Baker Street’ have not been taken seriously either by British Land or by McAleer & Rushe. Westminster have had to put a consultant on the site in an effort to ‘hand-hold’ the site staff and to ensure that normal and proper safety practices are observed and implemented. But the failures continue.

So here we have a site (2-14 Baker Street) that was not fenced to the rear whilst a major demolition of a building took place – allowing unimpeded access to anyone who wished to wonder under falling masonry and amongst dangerous machines. Work currently involves a digger (visible in the photo) working daily alongside the pedestrian walkway from Baker’s Mews to Robert Adam Street.

Residents, including the author of this post, have observed material falling out over the top of the fence onto the roadway and pedestrian walkway.

The company appears to have realised it must take action. Logic would suggest a rigid structure and in the way of a heightening of the perimeter fence – and/or covering the pedestrian walkway so as to fully exclude the danger of injury or death to passers by.

Logic would also suggest that such works in proximity to pedestrians is dangerous and should cease.

But obviously the considerations for a solution have been based on ‘how cheaply and quickly’ this can be done in preference to meeting proper safety standards and legal and site operational requirements.

So what has been erected appears to be a flimsy piece of netting. It appears to be held in place using plastic cable ties – which would offer little or no resistance to the might of a mechanical digger or heavy construction debris. The netting does not extend very far and does not include the site entrance over which some site materials were seen falling in the past week.

And this is supposed to pretect pedestrians including children and infants from falling site material including concrete, soil, rocks and rubble.

Will it take the death or serious injury of a child or other passer by before proper action is taken against McAleer & Rush and British Land in respect to the woeful failings that continue at ‘2-14 Baker Street’?

Where is the public best interest in all of this? Why are the litany of safety failures allowed to continue week in and week out on this site at ‘2-14 Baker Street’?

Is it that McAleer & Rushe are finding it difficult to service their loan portfolio with NAMA in Ireland – or are they simply a company whose mindset is to cut corners and cut costs at the expense of their legal obligations?

Some of the questions raised about this site at ‘2-14 Baker Street’ and about McAleer & Rushe by the blog NAMAWineLake may be well worth revisiting.

Posted in 2-14 Baker Street, Boris Johnson, British Land, Building Site, Child Safety, Children, Commercial Development, Congestion Charging London, Construction, Construction Deaths, Death, Disabled Access, HSE, London, London Mayor, London Olympics, Mayor of London, McAleer and Rushe, Mob, NAMA, Parking in London, Retail Development, Street Parking in Marylebone, Street Parking in Westminster, Tax Avoidance, Thug, Thuggery, Tourism London, Uncategorized, West End, Westminster, Westminster City Council, Where to park in London | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square). Bigger than the Lottery: A £28.2m Prize


Reaction to Irish banking and financial crises...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s been won and done. No longer up for grabs. But real money and real ‘winnings’. Like everyone else, we’d like to learn more. Maybe there’s a chance of further winnings – who know? We can’t promise a top prize of £28.2m. Not even a million. But we will put your name in lights if you can shed light on the following questions.

Subject

2-14 Baker Street, London (10 Portman Square)

Background and Facts

McAleer & Rushe originally bought British Land’s  interest in the 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square) site for £57.2m. At the time, British Land said the price agreed was “significantly above” its March 2005 book  value. The guide price for the building at the time was reported as £47.5m.

News of the deal was reported widely at the time including in the Belfast Telegraph. Interestingly, the deal was well beyond the capabilities of McAleer & Rushe who then borrowed the funds from Bank of Ireland. That loan is now with NAMA.

1st Question. Why did McAleer & Rushe pay well above the odds for 2-14 Baker Street? Was it good old stupidity on the part of McAleer & Rushe, or is there more to the deal than appears at face value?

For extra marks: Name the Bank of Ireland manager who stupidly signed off on the loan. Ten out of ten if you can ‘dish the dirt’!

Fast forward to 2010. British Land hits the jackpot – with winnings of an incredible £28.2m. The winnings suggest British Land might be better placed to use their managerial strengths for a game of roulette, poker or just using shareholder funds to take regular punts.

After all, why bother with developments and all the headaches if you can do deals like this?

So here’s the deal: Buy a site (2-14 Baker Street [10 Portman Square] – or any other). Sell it to a willing ‘friend’ (McAleer & Rushe). Doesn’t matter if they don’t have the money. All they need is a fool in a bank who can be convinced that British Land only offloads portfolio sites that are cash cows and not dogs.(all bank managers love dogs, don’t they? My bank manager claims to have five dogs at home…. with plans for more.)

In this instance a few glasses of the ‘golden stuff’ might be consumed behind the bank counter. Helps clarify the mind, and all that. The wool falls over the eyes of the bank manager helping him to ‘see the light’ and, bingo, the money’s in the bag for McAleer & Rushe. and so, we have the first moves in a game of ‘Pass the Parcel‘.

With the money in the bag, McAleer & Rushe were left holding the parcel (of land at 2-14 Baker Street [10 Portman Square]). But is is a dog – and not a cash cow.

The banks don’t get paid and don’t get to hold the parcel. The parcel gets heavy. Five years is a long time to hold any parcel. The weight starts to get too much and McAleer & Rushe begin to flag. Debts are mounting up and KMPG no longer have confidence, as auditors, that McAleer & Rushe can survive. There’s simply no money and no cash. McAleer & Rushe has itself become a dog. And we all know dogs are poor at holding parcels – particularly ones that cost a lot.

But heads held high – the Bank is in Dublin and those bank managers can’t leave home because the dogs need looking after.

Timing is everything. Before the McAleer & Rushe loans result in involuntary liquidation, the second side of the coin is readied and polished up. Knight in shiney armour and all that. British Land steps back into sight.

In April 201o McAleer & Rushe sell the 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square) site back to British Land. The site, out on holiday for five years, goes home. At a healthy profit for British Land!

But at a very substantial loss to McAcAleer & Rushe and the real loss is the Irish people – who have assumed libility for the McAleer & Rushe borrowings. It’s hard to stand by watching winnings of £28.2 million handed off to British Land. A poor return on investment for the Irish State bailout of the Banks!

2nd Question: What was the site at 2-14 Baker Street really worth in 2005, and what was it worth in March 2010?

For extra marks and a special prize: What were the ‘private‘ arrangements between British Land and McAleer & Rushe?

The LSE announcement of the deal is dated the 16th April 2010.

For full marks: What is the importance of the date of 16th April 2010 in the scheme of the overall agreement between McAleer & Rushe and British Land?

And on to the challenge of making the pieces fit. So pen at the ready. There are a few facts first:

1. On the 16th April 2010, 2-14 Baker Street Trustee No. 1 Limited (Registered Number  105523) and 2-14 Baker Street Trustee No. 2 Limited (Registered Number 105524) were registered with the Jersey Financial Services Companies Registry.

2. On 28th February 2011 the annual returns for the two companies named above were filed. Both these list the shareholders as being:

Surname: “Dominion Charitable Trust“; and

Forename: “Dominion Trust as Trustees of The”

3rd Question: What is the real ownership of these two companies registered in Jersey on the 16th April 2010? Why are the real owners names not included? What agreement pertains to or connects 2-14 Baker Street to these two Jersey registered companies?

For full marks answer these two questions in as much detail as possible: 

a. Is NAMA aware of these two companies?; and

b.  Is McAleer & Rushe or any of their directors or associates (or wives, or wives of friends or family) party to these two Jersey registered companies (or either one)?

In the London Stock Exchange announcement of the acquisition of 2-14 Baker Street on the 16th April 2010, there is a statement as follows:

A joint development agreement has been entered into with McAleer & Rushe whereby British Land acts as the development manager and McAleer & Rushe, an established construction group based in Northern Ireland, is the contractor for the scheme. As part of the sale arrangement, McAleer & Rushe will take a share in the development profits.”

4th Question: What is the mechanism enacted whereby McAleer & Rushe will take a share of the development profits of the development at 2-14 Baker Street?

Is there any connection between this mechanism and the two companies registered in Jersey Registered numbers 105523 and 105524 respectively?

For additional marks: Please explain the mechanism and any beneficiary terms in respect to any liability of (and disclosures by) McAleer & Rushe referencing their Bank of Ireland Loans and any liabilities that now fall within NAMA.

For full marks: Please explain the full workings of and all details pertaining to the establishment of the two companies named above and registered in Jersey. Please ensure you explain why these companies have been set up offshore.

Question No.5: Has British Land disclosed any interest in or role in the two Jersey registerd companies (Registered numbers 105523 and 105524 respectively) to their shareholders – and are details of any participation in or ownership in offshore trusts contained in their annual report?

Question No.6: A special prize will be awarded on the best correct answer. What is the breakdown of the Total Prize gained as a result of British Land selling the 2-14 Baker Street Site and then buying it back at nearly half price?

Who is likely to get what? How will the proceeds of the entire deal be divvied out? Who are all the beneficiaries?

Answers on a postcard please – or to be submitted via the comments box below. Any requests for confidentially will be honoured in full.

Legal Statement: The author of this article makes no claim of any wrongdoing by any party named here or by any party who can claim association of any of the events, properties, banks, companies or indivuals named here either directly or indirectly or by association.

This article presents publicly available information and poses questions relating to this public information.

This article and its author make no specific claim of any connection real or intangible or otherwise between McAleer & Rushe and/or British Land or any other party with a commercial interest in 2-14 Baker Street (10 Portman Square), and the two companies registered in the same name in Jersey on the same date as the sale of the said property (16th April 2010) by McAleer & Rushe to British Land.

The author stands by the suggestion that the Bank of Ireland manager (unnamed) who signed off the loan to McAleer & Rushe is a fool. If he or she is still in the job it is strongly suggested that they be sacked. Immediately. And keep them well away from London during the Olympics in 2012!


Posted in 2-14 Baker Street, Boris Johnson, British Land, Building Site, Commercial Development, Competition, Congestion Charging London, Construction, Free Parking, HSE, London, London Mayor, London Olympics, Lottery Winner, Mayor of London, McAleer and Rushe, Mob, NAMA, Parking in London, Retail Development, Street Parking in Marylebone, Street Parking in Westminster, Tax Avoidance, Thug, Thuggery, Tourism London, Uncategorized, West End, Westminster, Westminster City Council, Where to park in London | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments