12th March (Issue 438)

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.



College Green, Dublin 2 Ulster Bank’s premises at No. 33 College Green looks set to be transformed into a new boutique hotel following its purchase by one of the city’s leading hoteliers. The Irish Times understands that Donegal couple Brian and Sally McGill have agreed a deal to acquire the former bank-branch building for approx. €17m, approx. €3.5m more than Cushman & Wakefield had been guiding when it offered the property to the market last September. The McGills are understood to have secured the building in the face of competition from a number of parties. The McGill family already owns and operates the Harcourt Hotel, Harrington Hall and the four-star Iveagh Garden Hotel on nearby Harcourt Street. The property briefly comprises a six-storey over-basement office building, the majority of which was built in 1975. The Irish Times, 6th March


Tallaght, Dublin 24 Hines is in exclusive talks to buy the Square shopping centre in Tallaght. The Sunday Times understands that heads of terms have been sent to the developer. If the sale is completed, it will make Hines one of the biggest shopping centre operators in Dublin. The company already runs Liffey Valley, in Lucan and has plans to construct a €500m town centre in Cherrywood in South Dublin. It has also been reported that Hines has bid for the €650m Blanchardstown shopping centre. In addition, the Texas-based company owns the Chatham & King retail complex in Dublin city centre, where tenants include Zara and the jeweller Paul Sheeran, as well as retail properties on Grafton Street and at Central Plaza. The Square was put on the market last year by its owner Oaktree Capital with an asking price of between €160m and €170m. However, news reports have suggested that the bids could be as low as €125m. The Sunday Times, 10th March



Wexford Street, Dublin 2 Nos. 17-19 Wexford Street are being offered to the market by DNG Commercial fully let and generating total rental income of €402.5k pa for €5.5m (GIY approx. 7.3%). The subject property briefly comprises a four-storey, mixed-use building. The ground floor is occupied by fast-food restaurant chains – Eddie Rockets and Wow Burger. Both units are fully self-contained and are occupied on long-term FRI leases. The first, second and third floors comprise 10 fully let apartments. The WAULT is 7.37 years to break and 13.87 years to expiry. Eddie Rockets (Ireland) Limited occupies 19/19A Wexford Street on a 35-year lease from March 1st, 1998, and is paying an annual rent of €110k. Svetac Limited trading as Wowburger occupies 17/18 Wexford Street on a 20-year lease from October 2022, and is paying an annual rent of €110k. There is a tenant-only break option on the expiry of year seven, subject to six months written notice. The 10 apartments are fully let on annual rolling lease agreements and are generating total rental income of €182.5k pa. The Irish Times, 6th March

Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2 A fully let investment property, 26 Westmoreland Street with a €2.3m guide price, will be auctioned by Keane Thompson estate agents via the Iamsold online platform on 18th April, unless sold in the meantime. Located next to the Wax Museum in the city centre, the 6,350 sq. ft property is fully let to two tenants generating an income of €190k pa. An Asian restaurant, Good World, occupies the ground floor and basement. An English language school occupies the four upper floors which are laid out with a mix of open plan and smaller office rooms. The Irish Independent, 7th March



Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 Australian-headquartered Macquarie Asset Management, and three German investors, namely Deka Immobilien, HIH Real Estate, and MEAG, are said by market sources to have submitted offers earlier this week at levels approx. €40m that Savills had been guiding for 40 Molesworth Street. State Street purchased 40 Molesworth Street in 2018 as part of a multimillion-euro asset swap in which it ceded ownership of Deloitte House on Earlsfort Terrace to Iput. Iput had acquired the building for its part, in March 2013 for €8.4m and spent €13m transforming it into a modern grade office building. Today, the former home of the European Commission comprises 29,820 sq. ft of office space over six floors, along with a ground and basement retail unit extending to over 3,649 sq. ft. The offices are occupied in their entirety by global law firm, DLA Piper who took an assignment in 2021 of the 20-year lease which had been entered into originally by US online retailer Jet.com in 2017. The lease which is due to expire in 2037 has a term certain of 12 years and has a headline rent of approx. €60 per sq. ft. Specsavers occupy the retail element of the building, and the property is generating overall rental income of €2.175m pa. The Irish Times, 7th March

Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2 BNY Mellon is understood to have selected the Shipping Office in Dublin’s South Docklands as the new location for its Irish headquarters. The US-headquartered firm is said by market sources to be in the advanced stages of discussions on a deal for between 80,000 sq. ft and 90,000 sq. ft of space at the scheme. Built by Marlet Property Group on the site formerly occupied by the British and Irish Steam Packet Company, the Shipping Office comprises 177,000 sq. ft of office accommodation over eight storeys, a 12,755 sq. ft roof garden, five terraces, 27 showers, changing facilities, 16 basement car-parking spaces with two electric-vehicle (EV) charging points and 234 bike spaces. The Irish Times, 5th March

North Dock, Dublin 1 CBRE has been mandated to sell North Dock, a recently developed 200,000 sq. ft office on North Wall Quay, by receivers Interpath Advisory. Restructuring firm Interpath Advisory was parachuted in earlier this month by loan servicer CBRE, after sponsor Targeted Investment Opportunities – a joint venture led by Oaktree that includes Nama and Irish construction firm Bennett as minority partners – defaulted on a €120m loan from lender Pimco. The sale through CBRE is expected to launch in the coming weeks. Although there is yet no formal guide price, sources expect the asset will come to market at approx. €130m. Approx. half of the North Dock development is now let. Current tenants include Blueface, a cloud-based telecommunications company that leased 15,000 sq. ft, and Gilead Sciences. Pimco’s €120m facility was issued at the start of 2021, and structured to allow the sponsor to meet its business plan with incentives in terms of margin reduction as further leasing at the asset takes place. The scheme was Dublin’s first nearly zero-energy building office development. React News, 6th March

Parnell Square, Dublin 1 Finnegan Menton is guiding a price of €1.6m for No. 43 Parnell Square in Dublin City Centre. Located on the west side of the square and directly opposite the entrance to the Garden of Remembrance and the Rotunda Hospital, the property, which has been in office use, is being offered for sale with the benefit of both vacant possession and with freehold title. No. 43 Parnell Square comprises a four-storey, over-basement Georgian building extending to a net internal floor area of 4,115 sq. ft. The property was refurbished in 2010 to include a new roof and is in excellent condition throughout, according to the selling agent. The Irish Times, 6th March



Foxrock, Dublin 18 O’Flynn Group has paid just over €10m for a prime development site with planning in place for 57 homes in the South Dublin suburb of Foxrock. The price paid by the Cork-based developer represents a 13% discount on the €11.5m Lisney Commercial Real Estate had been seeking when it brought the site to the market on behalf of Richmond Homes. Located on Brighton Road, the 3.13-acre site, which is occupied currently by a large five-bedroom detached residence known as Craughwell, has full planning permission for the development of 57 new homes. The approved scheme comprises 21 three- and four-bedroom semidetached houses along with 36 apartments consisting of a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The subject site is located off Brighton Road and sits behind existing two-storey houses and has its own private access road. The Irish Times, 6th March

The Land Development Agency (LDA) is inviting private landowners and developers to submit expressions of interest for sites which can deliver mainly cost rental housing. Its preference is to purchase lands with planning permission for at least 200 units in higher density development in the five main cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford as well as the Greater Dublin commuter belt. Its largest market acquisition was two adjoining sites in Clongriffin in North Dublin. One of these sites had permission for over 1,800 units and the overall site probably has capacity for between 2,300 and 2,500 additional units. The LDA achieved a 24% reduction on the asking price for 27.4 of the acres at Clongriffin. The state agency Nama had been asking €50m for that lot but the LDA bought it for €38m (€1.39m per acre) after an Irish developer pulled out of a €45m deal. The Irish Independent, 7th March

Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6 Dublin City Council has refused planning permission for a 181-unit apartment development in Harold’s Cross that has been dubbed a “Silicon Docks”-style scheme. The council refused planning permission to Adroit Company Ltd’s Large-Scale Residential Development scheme, consisting of four apartment blocks rising between four and seven storeys at Harold’s Cross Road, after the scheme encountered strong local opposition. The council also refused planning permission due to flooding concerns and access issues. Planning permission was previously refused for a Strategic Housing Development scheme, and in response to the reasons for refusal, the applicants proposed a reduction in the building heights, bulk and massing of Blocks A, B and C. The Irish Times, 5th March

Tralee, Co Kerry Plans for more than 50 homes in Tralee are now free to proceed after An Bord Pleanála greenlit the plans. A number of third-party appeals had been lodged against an earlier decision by Kerry County Council to approve the scheme, which had been proposed by Homeland Projects for Ballyard Road, Cloghers, Tralee. The appeals claimed the new development would be “incompatible” with the pattern of surrounding development. The density of the new scheme is 10.72 units per acre, in comparison to existing developments, which are 3.28 units per acre. It noted the scale, layout and profile of the new development is in line with national housing guidelines. The Irish Examiner, 7th March

Kilkishen, Co Clare A developer is seeking permission to build 61 new homes in Co Clare. Sanford Properties Ltd was refused permission to build the homes on Tulla Road in Kilkishen in south-east Clare by the local council. However, it has appealed this to An Bord Pleanála. The Irish Examiner, 7th March

Skehard Road, Cork Plans for 90 new homes on Skehard Road are set to be delayed due to an appeal. In January, Lyonshall Ltd was granted permission for the works on a site named Villa Maria and its adjacent lands. The plan includes 26 one-bed units, 48 two-bed homes, and 12 two-storey townhouses, all on a site that was previously refused permission for a mixed-use development which was to include an Aldi supermarket. Cork City Council signed off on the proposal but imposed conditions which would limit the size of the scheme, omitting 18 of the proposed units. The Irish Examiner, 6th March

Blackrock, Cork A plan to build nine new homes has been unveiled in Blackrock. Boxline Developments has applied for planning permission to construct nine new homes in the former rear gardens of Nos. 19 and 20 Donlocha Cottages in the Cork City suburb. It wants to build four one-bed apartments, two two-bed apartments, and three two-bed houses, with all buildings a maximum of two storeys. The Irish Examiner, 6th March

Shandon Street and Farrens Quay, Cork Plans for new city centre apartments in Cork have been lodged with the city council. The planning department is now assessing the proposal from Bellmount Developments, which wants to build nine apartments in the city’s historic core. Located at 60/61 Shandon Street and Farrens Quay, eight units would be studio apartments, with the remaining unit a one-bed apartment. The proposal also includes the change of use for a ground floor unit, which is currently licensed for commercial use but would change to residential use. An existing pub at the lower ground floor level would remain unchanged. The Irish Examiner, 6th March

Passage West, Cork Cork County Council planners have rejected an application by Kindis Property Development, which had sought permission to build 11 homes in two buildings on a site bound by Beach Road and Bay View in Passage West. In rejecting the application, the council noted the “layout, design, scale, massing and material finish” of the proposal failed to “respect the character, pattern and tradition of the surround site”. The Irish Examiner, 6th March

House prices and rental costs are set to continue to rise over the coming years, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) will tell an Oireachtas committee on Wednesday evening. The body is forecasting that housing demand will continue to exceed supply into the medium-term, as previous predictions of a demand for 35,000 homes annually did not account for increased immigration. On top of this, the ESRI will tell the Budgetary Oversight committee that Ireland was ranked near the bottom of the table in terms of EU investment in housing, only ahead of Greece, Poland and Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2022. The overall Irish economic picture is fraught with potential pitfalls, according to the body, with the small and open nature of our economy noted as being particularly vulnerable to global economic headwinds. The Business Post, 6th March

BNP Paribas Real Estate Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) Report Housing output is likely to fall in 2024, with the government’s 33,450 delivery target at risk. According to BNP Paribas’s latest PMI, overall construction activity in Ireland dropped in February. The seasonally adjusted PMI for total activity was 47.4 in February, up from 45.9 in January and below the 50 mark denoting contraction rather than growth from the month before. Although continuing to signal falling construction output, the rate of decline was the slowest posted in five months. Residential activity contracted for the 17th month in succession, in spite of a “strong upward trend” in housing commencements and completions. The number of dwellings under construction in Dublin in February was approx. a fifth (19%) lower than 18 months previously. According to the report, while housing targets for 2024 were likely to be missed, this would be a “hiccup”, and that the gradual upward trend in commencements suggested a return to rising output in 2025 and beyond. The 12-month outlook for construction activity showed a jump in confidence in the sector to its highest point in two years, BNP Paribas’ analysis shows, with 40% of respondents predicting an increase in activity. The Business Post, 11th March

Central Bank of Ireland Report New home completions in Ireland are forecast to rise to 37,000 by 2026, exceeding the Government’s target, as a contraction in commercial real estate facilitates further expansion in residential housing, according to the Central Bank of Ireland. The additional manpower combined with a pickup in housing commencements would see new home completions rise to 35,000 this year, up from just under 33,000 last year, and to 36,500 and 37,000 in 2025 and 2026 respectively. The Government’s Housing for All strategy targets 34,600 completions this year, 36,100 in 2025 and 36,900 in 2026. While good news for the Government, the Central Bank’s forecasts appear to clash with BNP Paribas’s latest data for the construction sector here, which pointed to a slump in residential activity in February. In its report, the Central Bank said the best guide to housing completions was commencements and these were running at an annual rate of over 34,000 units in January this year. The Irish Times, 12th March

Banking and Payments Federation  Ireland (BPFI) Report There was continued growth in the supply of housing last year, with 32,695 completions in 2023, which amounted to a 55% increase on pre-pandemic 2019 levels, according to the BPFI Q4 2023 report. It showed apartment completions, which rose by 28% to more than 11,600 units in 2023, accounted for most of the 10% increase in housing supply last year. The number of completed housing units in 2023 was higher than the total housing supply in the five years between 2011 and 2015. The report said it was also likely that the share of apartments would increase further in the coming years as nearly half of all planning permissions approved in the period 2019-2023 were for apartments (101,883 units). Apartments accounted for more than 81% of the 15,385 housing units under construction in Dublin by the end of the third quarter. The report also showed that housing commencements increased by 59% in January compared to the same period last year. This equated to 3,357 housing units started during the month. The Irish Times, 12th March

Apartment Purchase Statistics Homebuyers only purchased 523 of the 9,100 apartments built in Dublin last year, a new analysis has shown. The analysis by the BPFI said the majority of apartments in the city are being acquired by private rental sector investors and state bodies, who acquire homes to provide social and affordable housing. Last year, apartment building dominated housebuilding activity in Dublin, with more than seven in ten new homes apartments. On a nationwide basis, apartments have also become an increasingly larger share of newly-built housing stock each year. Since 2019, the proportion of apartments being built has risen from 16% of all completions in 2019 to more than 35% last year. The Business Post, 12th March



Killeshandra, Co Cavan A Cavan GAA club has received the go ahead to carry out a major expansion of its home grounds. Killeshandra GFC tabled plans in January to demolish the club’s existing single storey clubhouse and dressing room and replace it with a two-storey facility at its headquarters at Portaliffe, Killeshandra. Cavan County Council planning bosses approved the plans subject to nine conditions. That development, subject to planning, is expected to cost approx. €1m to complete. The Irish Independent, 8th March

Dún Laoghaire, South Co Dublin Dún Laoghaire’s Living Streets plan to create more pedestrian and cycle-friendly spaces in Dún Laoghaire town centre are due to be decided on by councillors. The Dún Laoghaire Living Streets programme proposes “modal filters” at Tivoli Road, Cross Avenue and Clarinda Park West to deter vehicular traffic. In addition, parts of George’s Street Lower, Sussex Street and Convent Road would be pedestrianised. The council says the plan would create a safer walking environment through reduced traffic, footpaths would be widened and there would be more facilities for cyclists and additional tree planting and seating areas. The Irish Times, 10th March

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