The principals of Irish investment firm FL Partners are understood to be exploring social housing projects worth €50m in Dundalk and Clonmel.
The firm has bought residential sites with the potential to develop 300 units and is in discussions with a housing association about a joint effort.
FL Partners – founded by Neill Hughes and Peter Crowley – sold ‘The Racing Post’ newspaper to private equity firm Exponent last year in a major deal.
Hughes and Crowley are currently engaged in a significant housebuilding project in Orlando, Florida, comprising 4,000 acres across two plots with the potential to develop 7,200 units.
Mattamy Homes, North America’s largest privately-owned housebuilder, has taken a major stake in one plot and is building that out.
FL’s principals and their local partners are now engaged in the planning process for the second. It has the potential for 3,200 units and FL are likely to seek co-investors once this is finalised.
Located between downtown Orlando and Lake Nona/Orlando airport, the site is likely to include a significant so-called “active adult” (over 55s) element which is not currently available in that area. Orlando has been showing strong rates of job and residential house price growth for some time.
In Northern Ireland, FL’s principals have bought Dingles Builders together with local developer John McGinnis, where it plans to build out as many as 500 units centred around South Belfast.
The investment firm, set up in 2006, also includes mattress-maker Kaymed and construction industry recruitment firm Potensis.
As well as the ‘Racing Post’ deal, it has exited investments in luxury yacht company Sunseeker and toolmaker ATA Group.
Last year the Government embarked on a plan to have 47,000 new social housing units built by 2021, saying it had €5.35bn of funding in place. It said 26,000 units would be delivered by construction or refurbishment.
Last week the Department of Housing said the programme “continues to scale up with some 1,600 new housing units added to the programme during Q1 2017”.
“The programme now includes 607 developments yielding 10,072 houses. 130 of these developments, yielding 2,378 houses, are currently on site. In terms of immediate delivery, the aim is to build 2,400 new social houses in 2017. This compares with just over 650 new social houses built in 2016.”
Sunday Indo Business