MYSTERY surrounds the future of the Bank bar on O’Connell Street, after it was withdrawn from a property auction in Dublin before the sale.
The pub, which occupies a central position in Limerick’s main thoroughfare, was up for auction with a modest reserve of €395,000.
The former AIB branch, which was bought for €2m and opened by notorious rogue trader Nick Leeson a decade ago, was recently placed under the control of Grant Thornton, after the company which ran the bar went into receivership.
It is understood that Bank of Scotland were anxious that the property be sold. A number of offers for undisclosed sums had been made in the past, but none were accepted.
An application is due to the made to the Circuit Court for the renewal of a license to sell alcohol in The Bank, and is due to be heard on May 8.
Allsop Space, the organisers of the auction, said the bar, was the “highlight” of Limerick properties up for sale.
It had been viewed by a number of interested parties before the sale, and was the seventh most expensive property in the auction.
While the Bank bar wasn’t opened to prospective buyers on the day, two apartments in the city did find new owners at the auction in the Shelbourne hotel in Dublin.
Lot 83 was 11 Kingscourt, Mungret Street, a three-bed mid-terrace house which sold for its reserve of €50,000.
In Mount Kennett, which features in every Allsop Space sale, an apartment in Richmond Court, sold for €48,000 - €20,500 over the reserve.
Sales of the latest auction generated €13 million, amounting to a 91 per cent success rate.
The highest price paid was for Darby O’Gill’s Hotel in Killarney, which went for €735,000, well above the reserve price of €515,000.
The largest home, a four-bed house on in Carrickmines, Dublin, sold for €480,000, €40,000 above the reserve. A total of 87 properties sold under the hammer with nine withdrawn prior to auction and nine failing to make their reserve prices. Allsop Space plan to hold another three auctions this year, after the last sale in March realised sales of €12.4m. The next auction of Irish properties will be held on July 6.
However, a number of local agents said these auctions are setting a “poor benchmark” for property in Limerick, and are undervaluing the market.