12th January (Issue 279)

Welcome to the Origin Capital Weekly Irish Property Review. This update is designed to provide you with a full recap of the latest property news from the media over the last seven days.


Happy New Year from all the team at Origin Capital 



Dublin 2 The Irish Times understands that Blackstone is set to acquire a majority interest in two of Dublin’s foremost office assets. The company has notified the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) of its intention to purchase the stakes held by Colony Capital in the Burlington Plaza office complex on Burlington Road and the headquarters of Three Ireland on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. The properties are valued at €204 million and €120 million respectively. Colony could potentially secure up to €153 million from the sale of its three-quarter interest in Burlington Plaza and a further €86 million for its 72% interest in Three Ireland’s headquarters. Colony acquired its share of Burlington Plaza and Three Ireland’s headquarters as part of its purchase for €455 million in 2017 of Nama’s €1.5 billion Project Tolka loan book. The Irish Times, 11th January

Dublin Docklands An Post has advised potential contractors that it will move its historic headquarters from Dublin’s GPO to the new Exo Building in the city’s docklands in the second half of 2021. The building which is close to completion will be Dublin’s tallest office block, at 79 metres. The net internal floor area of the six floors being taken by An Post will be c.100,000 sq.ft. which represents a significant portion of the total 169,000 sq.ft. that the building extends over. The Irish Independent, 29th December



The Liberties, Dublin 8 An Bord Pleanála has granted permission for a seven-storey co-living complex with space for 378 beds and communal facilities such as kitchens and living rooms on the site of the Old Glass Factory in Cork Street in the Liberties area of Dublin. The plan, which will exceed limits on the height of buildings in Dublin, was originally submitted ahead of a ban introduced by government last year to halt further co-living schemes. The application by developer Alphabet ABC Properties Limited includes the demolition of the existing derelict buildings on the site and development of a new shared accommodation complex. Its plans also provide for a café at ground floor level as well as a private function room, cinema, communal lounge, gym and library roof terrace. There will be also workspace areas with communal kitchens, living and dining rooms on each floor. The development will create a new pedestrian link between Cork Street and John Street South. One of the conditions was to reduce the original number of proposed bed spaces of 397 by the omission of 19 units at basement level. The Irish Independent, 6th January

Marys Lane, Dublin 7 Dublin City Council has recommended to An Bord Pleanála that it refuse planning permission to contentious ‘fast track’ plans for a 14-storey co-living development beside Dublin’s Victorian Fruit and Vegetable Market. The executive planner for the council stated that the 506-bed, four-block development – which includes an eight-storey block beside St Michan’s Church – “would constitute overdevelopment of four sites that would fail to result in either a contextual or a high-quality design response”. The developers say the proposal could provide an economic dividend of up to €41.6m in spending for the local economy over a 10-year period. A decision is due on the application this month. The Irish Independent, 11th January

Nama Social Housing Properties According to The Irish Times, Nama owns 1,372 social housing properties, all of which are leased directly to approved housing bodies or local authorities. The properties were acquired by the agency from its debtors for use as social housing and are managed through a separate entity called National Asset Residential Property Services (Narps). The figures provided by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe show the properties generate c.€12 million in rental income for Nama. The majority of the properties (1,335) are leased to housing bodies with the remaining 37 leased to Cork and Clare County Councils. Nama originally took control of some 6,000 of these units. Approximately 2,000 were deemed unsuitable for social housing by local authorities for various reasons to do with price, quality and location, while a further 2,000 were sold to the private sector. The bulk of the remainder are leased as social housing units. Housing agency Tuath leases the largest number (539) followed by Co-Operative Housing Ireland (239), Cluid Housing (202), and North and East Housing (112). The Irish Times, 11th January

Glenveagh Properties generated revenue of €232 million last year while delivering 700 housing units. While both these metrics were down on the previous year, the Dublin-listed housebuilder described the performance as “strong” in the context of the Covid-19 restrictions. In its annual results for 2020, Glenveagh said the average selling price for a housing unit in 2020 was €311,000, down from €321,000 in 2019. This reflected the group’s focus on suburban starter-home schemes. The sales generated an underlying core gross margin of 14%, which was in line with expectations and reflects costs associated with Covid-19 safety measures and operating protocols. The group recently announced a €500 million investment programme which it says will deliver 3,000 new homes across the country. The Irish Times, 6th January 

Dublin 11 Ballymore Group is to begin works this month on a 435-unit apartment development on the site of the former Ormond Printworks in Dublin 11. The development, known as the Ormond Project, is the fourth and final phase for the developer at Royal Canal Park in Pelletstown. The apartments consist of 218 one-bedroom units and 217 two-bedroom units in five buildings (Blocks A to E inclusive) ranging in height from four to 13 storeys and incorporating an undercroft level as well as a healthcare centre, pharmacy, gym and public plazas. The development will also feature office space, 255 car parking spaces, and nearly 950 bicycle parking spaces. The Business Post, 10th January 

Dublin 8 Quantum Property Consultants is guiding €1.25 million for an Infill Development site with full planning permission for a 4 Storey over basement 12,944 sq.ft. office development at 1-3 Thomas Court, just off Thomas Street, Dublin 8. Planning was extended in June 2016 under condition whereby ‘substantial works’ are to be completed by January 2022. The existing site consists of a former bakery situated on Thomas Court at the South junction of Thomas Street. The site is bounded by an existing public house and backs on to a vacant area. Thomas Court is located c.1km to Dame Street and 1.5km to Dublin city centre and St Stephens Green. Quantum Property Consultants, January 2020

Dublin 1 Glenveagh Properties has submitted a strategic housing application to An Bord Pleanála for 702 build-to-rent apartments. The €154 million development located at Castleforbes, Sheriff Street Upper, Dublin 1, will involve the demolition of all structures on the site and the construction of a mixed-use residential scheme set out in nine blocks, ranging in height from one to 18 storeys, above part basement/upper ground level. The Business Post, 10th January

Wexford Town A strategic housing development application has been granted by An Bord Pleanála to William Neville and Sons Construction Limited for 413 residential units (175 houses and 238 apartments), a childcare facility and associated site works. The €90 million development is located at Carcur Park in Wexford town. The Business Post, 10th January

Dublin 17 Camgill Property a Seacht has been granted permission by An Bord Pleanála for a strategic housing development on lands known as Site 2, Northern Cross, Malahide Road, Dublin 17. The €42 million development involves the construction of 191 residential units in a part-seven, part-eight and part-nine storey building, over a lower ground floor/upper basement level and lower basement level. The 191 apartments consist of six studio units, 76 one-bed units and 109 two-bed units, The Business Post, 10th January



Trinity College Dublin Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has secured planning permission for a €9 million revamp of the college’s Rubrics building. The building was built between 1699 and 1702 and is the oldest surviving building on the TCD city centre campus. TCD’s plan for the building involves the conservation of the protected structure and the delivery of 22 studio residential units and 36 student bedrooms. Dublin City Council granted planning permission for the proposal after its planner concluded that the plan “is likely to significantly improve and enhance the existing protected building, from a residential point of view and also from a preservation and maintenance perspective.” The Irish Times, 28th December



Donabate, Co Dublin Colliers International recently sold the Portakabin facility in Roseville Business Park, Donabate in north Co Dublin for €3.3 million. The building is let to Portakabin (Ireland) with a parent company guarantee from Portakabin Limited. The tenant has the benefit of a break option in March 2026, subject to 12 months’ notice, leaving an unexpired term of about 5.25 years to the break and 7.25 years to expiry. The business park adjoins Turvey Business Centre, Red Leaf Business Park and Shannon Valley Centre. Located just off the M1 motorway 16km north east of Dublin city centre and 3km west of Donabate village. Dublin Airport is located just five minutes away and the Dublin Port Tunnel within ten minutes. The Business Post, 27thDecember



Dublin 2 Vision Contracting is expected to begin the main construction works this month on a €9.2 million hotel development on Prince’s Street South, Dublin 2. The enabling works for the site began in September 2020 and planning permission allows for the construction of a ten-storey building and 113 hotel bedrooms. Works are expected to be completed by Q1 2022. The Business Post, 10th January



Greystones, Co Wicklow Wicklow County Council has granted planning permission to Greystones Media Campus (GMC) Ltd for its “state of the art” film studio and media facility. It is planned for an almost 50-acre site in Greystones in a project that will create more than 1,500 jobs. Documentation lodged with the new plan states that the studio scheme’s direct, indirect and induced economic impact has a gross value of €1.54bn which, it states, will represent a significant stimulus to Greystones and the wider metropolitan region. The plan involves the construction of more than 791,000 sq.ft. of film studio across 15 buildings at the IDA Business and Technology Park at Greystones. The Irish Independent, 6th January

CBRE 2021 Outlook The combination of Covid-19 and the continuation of trends already underway in the residential and retail sectors prior to the onset of the pandemic will force many property investors to focus on reconfiguring their holdings this year to protect themselves against future market shocks. While traditional core assets such as prime offices will continue to attract buyers, CBRE’s head of research Marie Hunt says investors are expected to target the private rented sector, logistics and pharmaceutical/biomedical properties in increasing numbers to “future proof” their portfolios. CBRE’s predictions for the Irish market follow on from a relatively robust performance in 2020. According to its research, more than € 3.6 billion was invested here in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some 48% of the investment spend was accounted for by the residential sector while offices accounted for 36% by comparison. While CBRE expects this year to be a busy one both in terms of transactional and investment volumes, it believes much of this activity will take place in the second half of 2021. The Irish Times, 12th January

Q1 Rent Collections Yew Grove Reit has reported that it has collected 100% of its quarterly rents for quarter one of 2021. Quarterly rents account for 90.35% of its rent roll, with monthly rents accounting for 9.65%. All but €3,175 of the monthly amounts due on 1 January 2021 has been collected. If this rate of collection is repeated in February and March, the full quarterly collections will exceed 99.6%. The 0.4% of rent not collected relates to non-food retail that has been closed due to the new national lockdown. In aggregate, the company’s non -food retail rents amount to 0.7% of the total rent roll. The Irish Independent, 12th January

Irish Construction Activity The construction industry finished 2020 in “expansion mode” fuelled by housebuilding, according to the authors of Ulster Bank’s construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a barometer of activity in the sector. Housebuilding activity reached a five-month high on the index in December, although there was an end-of-year contraction in commercial building. Civil engineering was down sharply. The Chief Economist at Ulster Bank noted that “optimism about the year ahead improved further last month as sentiment rose to its highest level since February 2020”. It is also worth noting that job creation in the sector was at an 18-month high in December. They also note some of the purchasing activity could have been spurred by Brexit, as builders stockpiled materials when it appeared for much of the month that a no-deal outcome on trade was possible. All sectors of the construction industry, however, are likely to suffer significant reverses in future Ulster Bank PMI reports, as the Government shut down most non-essential building in January as part of a suite of measures designed to arrest a spike in coronavirus infection rates and hospitalisations. The Irish Times, 11th January 

Co Waterford The Irish Independent understands that Irish nursing home chain Aperee has acquired its third nursing home – Havenwood Retirement Village, a 64-bed home in Ballygunner, Co. Waterford for a price in the region of €8 to €10 million. The deal also brings to 10 the number of nursing homes now managed by Aperee. The firm is the operational arm of Blackbee Healthcare Fund. In February 2020, it paid c.€5m for the 52-bed Padre Pio Nursing Home in Churchtown, North Cork which stands on a three-acre site. In the summer, it acquired Cúil Didín Nursing Home in Tralee, Co Kerry for c.€7m and renamed both as Aperee Living. The Irish Independent, 3rd January 

Construction Sector Shutdown It was announced last week by the Irish government that all non-essential construction must cease from the 8th January. As it stands, these restrictions will remain in place until January 31st. During the three week lockdown, the government have indicated that the only residential construction that can continue is circumstances where: i) The construction / development is for social housing purposes and is set to be completed before February 28th; and ii) The construction of a property is set to be completed and capable of being occupied by January 31st. Assuming that construction is in fact allowed to resume by February, the impact of the lockdown on 2021 construction output forecasts will not be significant. The Irish Times, 11th January

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