Sheridan Millenium dropped as preferred developer for Laganside

NIO Minister David Hanson has reaffirmed the “Government’s commitment to developing the Queen’s Quay site on Belfast’s riverfront following DSD and Laganside’s decision to terminate the current competition.” But you have to look through the Notes to Editors to find the reason why.

Following due diligence the Department and Laganside have concluded that they cannot properly form an opinion on Sheridan Millennium’s ability to deliver the project and so cannot proceed to enter into a development agreement with Sheridan Millennium. As a result the current competition initiated in January 2005 through which Sheridan Millennium was identified as preferred developer has been terminated by Laganside.

The Sheridan Group website describes Sheridan Millenium Ltd as a property development company wholly owned by Peter J Curistan. It was also responsible for developing the Odyssey Pavilion in Belfast.

On Sunday it was reported that one of Curistan’s other companies, Century City, had had its financial accounts qualified by its auditors

Turnover at Century City, which operates an amusement arcade in the Parnell Centre in Dublin, comprised cash sales of €160,643 in the year to December 2005. However, when the accounts were signed off last month, company auditors noted “there was insufficient audit evidence to enable us to verify the completeness of same”.

Sinn Fein finance chief Des Mackin resigned as a director of the company last January.

Century City has suffered a series of reverses this year. Also in January, the Probabtion Act was applied in the Dublin District Court against the company, over its failure to keep proper books. Nine months later and following an audit it made a €40,973 settlement with the Revenue Commissioners. The settlement included €25,608 in underdeclared PAYE, PRSI and VAT, and €15,365 in interest and penalties. Century City is controlled by Curistan through Sheridan Developments, an offshore outfit in the British Virgin Isles.

The resignation of Des Mackin as a director of Century City was noted here on Slugger at the time when it was reported that 6 of the 7 companies involved were to be wound-up.

According to the DSD statement

Notes to Editors:

1. In 2005 Laganside Corporation ran a competition to select a preferred developer for the proposed Queen’s Quay Development along the East Bank of the Lagan from Bridge End to just beyond the Odyssey. In June 2005 the Laganside Board appointed Sheridan Millennium as the preferred developer for the three development sites at Queen’s Quay subject to completing due diligence which involves an independent assessment of the developer’s ability to deliver the project. The process of due diligence is required for large developments such as Queen’s Quay.

2. Following due diligence the Department and Laganside have concluded that they cannot properly form an opinion on Sheridan Millennium’s ability to deliver the project and so cannot proceed to enter into a development agreement with Sheridan Millennium. As a result the current competition initiated in January 2005 through which Sheridan Millennium was identified as preferred developer has been terminated by Laganside.

3. In view of the Department taking responsibility for the Laganside area following the planned dissolution of the Laganside Corporation in March 2007, subject to the approval of Parliament, the Department will review Laganside’s development plans for Queen’s Quay with a view to a new competition as soon as practicable.

4. All developers which submitted proposals to the 2005 competition are eligible to submit proposals to any future competition for Queen’s Quay. Confirmation of the selected preferred developer will again be subject to the due diligence procedure.