Treasury may build €1bn ‘green city’ in Bogota

Sunday August 05 2007

THE vast property empire of Ireland’s largest developer, Treasury Holdings, owned by Richard Barrett and Johnny Ronan, could soon include South America, following an approach by city planners in Bogota to build a €1bn green city there. 

Drug cartels and crime are now less of a problem than the Colombian capital’s growing carbon footprint caused by greenhouse gases from 140,000 people moving there each year from the surrounding area, according to the World Resources Institute, a Washington thinktank. 

It is understood that the Bogota development could conceivably be the same size as Treasury’s €1.2 billion ‘eco city’ on the island of Chongming near the booming metropolis of Shanghai in China. The first phase in Chongming is expected to be completed in 2010, and will eventually be home to 80,000 people, the company says.

“We’ve got a limited amount of expertise for these projects at the moment, but we’re trying to build larger teams so we can take on new projects outside China. Eco-city developments are a new way of thinking and I’m sure that eventually it’ll be the biggest thing we do as a company,” Richard Barrett, the company’s joint founder, told the Sunday Independent, last week.

Although Dublin’s population is also booming and the capital’s footprint now rivals that of central Los Angeles, the company as yet has no plans for a green city here. Barrett admits he has considered it, however: “If we had owned all of Dublin’s North Docks, we could have built an eco-development there,” he said.

Meanwhile, reports late last week suggested that Treasury Holdings had bought two huge Shanghai projects from legendary Macau casino owner Stanley Ho. The properties are thought to be worth about $1bn. The 86-year-old tycoon is one of the richest people in Asia, with an estimated wealth of over $7bn.

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