Irish Hire Receiver to Builder Kelleher Behind Chicago Spire

Ireland’s bad bank hired receivers to some companies controlled by Garrett Kelleher, a developer who borrowed from the nation’s lenders for a building spree that was to include North America’s tallest building in Chicago.

The National Asset Management Agency named Mazars LLP to take control of assets of at least nine companies tied to Kelleher’s Dublin-based Shelbourne Property Group, according to filings with the Irish Companies Registration Office. The firms had combined short-term bank debts of 327 million euros ($448 million) at the end of March 2009, the most recent filings show.

NAMA is seeking to recoup the 71.2 billion euros of loans owed by developers that the agency bought from Irish banks after the country’s property market collapsed. Kelleher borrowed from lenders including Anglo Irish Bank Corp. as he sought to build an empire that would include the Chicago Spire and office blocks and homes across Ireland and the U.K.

Officials for NAMA and Mazars declined to comment. Kelleher didn’t respond to e-mails sent to his office requesting comment.

The companies in receivership list Anglo Irish and Allied Irish Banks Plc as their lenders as of March 2009, filings show. The two banks sold 52.5 billion euros of property loans to NAMA, a 2010 annual report for the agency shows.

Tallest Building

Kelleher invested in property in Dublin’s city center and London’s financial district while also building in Brussels, according to Shelbourne’s website. Having started the company converting lofts in Chicago, he sought to build North America’s tallest building there in 2007, the website shows.

Anglo Irish lent $69.5 million to Kelleher to fund his plans to build Chicago Spire, which was to stand 2,000 feet tall. The project stalled and the builder defaulted on the loan in 2009.

NAMA took over the debt and sold it to an affiliate of Stephen Ross’s Related Cos. The company behind the project, Shelbourne North Water Street LP, is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Kelleher still plans to build the project, according to a statement in February.

The Irish unit of Lloyds Banking Group Plc named receivers to some of Kelleher’s companies in 2011. One of those firms, Clarinabbey Ltd., owed 145 million euros to banks at the end of March 2009, according to a filing with the Companies Registration Office.

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