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€100m plan stalls over leisure firm's alleged refusal to vacate

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Operations at the Leisureplex include a bowling alley

Operations at the Leisureplex include a bowling alley

Operations at the Leisureplex include a bowling alley

A €100M redevelopment plan for the Stillorgan Leisureplex in Dublin is being delayed by a refusal of the operators to vacate the premises, it has been claimed.

Lorgan Leisure, whose directors are Ciaran and Colum Butler, has been renting the premises since 1999 and its operations include a bowling alley.

KW Investments Funds ICAV bought the premises in 2016 from the receivers for the previous owners Tenderbrook Ltd.

KW has brought Commercial Court proceedings against Lorgan over its alleged failure to vacate the premises this month so construction can begin.

The case was admitted to the fast-track commercial list by Mr Justice David Barniville.

KW has planning permission to build 232 "build-to-rent" apartments on the 1.33 hectare site, involving the demolition of the Leisureplex.

KW had a short-term letting agreement with Lorgan Leisure which paid €220,000-a-year in rent.

Surrender

Jason Byers, head of residential in Ireland for KW, said in an affidavit that Lorgan agreed as part of its short-term lease to surrender the premises under a break clause.

He said contractors were ready to move in to clear the site but because of the defendant's "recent indication that it will not vacate the premises" works cannot commence this week as anticipated.

Mr Byers said Ciaran Butler was disappointed KW did not intend to include a bowling alley in the redeveloped site.

Mr Butler's proposal that Lorgan Leisure would buy the Leisureplex from KW was rejected. Lorgan has also now said it intends putting in a claim for a new tenancy under landlord and tenant legislation.

Mr Byers says the development is being done under the Government's strategic housing legislation and any delay will significantly undermine the purpose of this policy to fast-track housing developments.

He also said even if the harm to KW's business could be compensated by the award of damages, Lorgan will not be in a position to pay as its publicly available financial statement for 2018 shows it has net assets of just €376.