Comer Brothers to spend €1.5bn constructing 3,000 homes by Dublin Airport

Galway developers the Comer brothers will spend €1.5bn on developing 3,000 homes, manufacturing space and a science park on a vast plot of land between Dublin Airport and the M50 motorway, the Sunday Independent reported.

Luke Comer, co-founder of their international property development company, Comer Homes, described the 210-acre site as “the most strategic piece of real estate in Europe.”

“It is close to the M50, the airport, Dublin Port and the city centre. It is an absolutely ideal place to develop both homes and commercial space,” he said.

The development will help to address Dublin’s acute housing shortage, the Comers said.

Dublin will need 9,000 new homes built every year between now and 2018 to meet capacity, the Society of Chartered Surveyors has predicted.

Residents will have rail access to the city centre, as the site will be served by the 53km Metro rail line planned to link up Dublin Airport with the centre of the capital.

The residential part of the development will cover 15m square feet of land and be bordered on either side by a row of commercial space – a science park on one side and facilities for light manufacturing on the other.

The brothers bought the tract of land earlier this year. It was valued at around €250m in 2008.

Planning has not yet been secured but they intend to start building immediately once it is granted.

They will not need to put finance in place to fund the development, they said, and will pay for it using cash flow from their existing property portfolio.

The 50-something Comer brothers have become one of the very first developers to start building again in post-recession Ireland.

They have snapped up several prime assets in recent months. These include the Kilternan hotel and golf course on 300 acres at the foothills of the Dublin mountains. The Comers bought the site, built by the late Hugh O’Regan for around €170m, for a rumoured €7.5m.

They plan to reopen Kilternan within 18 months.

“It is very nearly finished, there is not much left to do,” said group chairman Brian Comer.

They have also bought the Palmerstown Demense and golf course near Naas in Co Kildare, formerly owned by Jim Mansfield, and a portfolio of 640 apartments in Dublin and Cork from Ulster Bank at a reported 70pc discount.

They plan to turn some of these units, around Dublin’s Island Quay, into a large hotel and office space.

They have also acquired the half-finished Sentinel tower in Sandyford Industrial Estate for €1m.

Luke and Brian Comer are one of Ireland’s true rags-to-riches building success stories.

Born in Glenamaddy in Co Galway, they started their careers in the 1970s as plasterers before moving into property development and founding the Comer Homes Group.

They built up a significant business in the UK after the Irish economy nosedived in the 1980s, before moving into Germany. They began investing in Ireland once again in 2010. The group’s assets are valued at around €2.5bn.

The horse-racing fans, who are sponsors of the Irish St Leger horse race as well as Galway FC, live between the UK and Monaco.

Commenting on the Central Bank’s controversial mortgage lending proposals, which would force borrowers to stump up 20pc of any property themselves, Brian Comer said he could see both sides of the debate.

“I see the argument both for and against,” he said. “You create another bubble, or you push young families out of housing.”

“But saving a 20pc deposit… that is okay if you have a very good job, but for lots of people, it is not realistic.” Source: The Irish Independent