19th March (Issue 439)

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.



Kilkenny Retail Park, Kilkenny Iroko Zen is closing in on the purchase of Kilkenny Retail Park from Aviva’s Irish Commercial Property Fund. The deal, which is understood to carry a value of just over €23m, will represent the French-headquartered investor’s ninth acquisition in the Irish investment market. TWM had been seeking €22m for the scheme.
Aviva secured ownership of Kilkenny Retail Park in 2018 as part of its takeover of Irish insurer Friends First, who had purchased the park for €25m in 2016. Located in the Springhill area on the outskirts of Kilkenny City, Kilkenny Retail Park is fully occupied at present and generating overall rental income of approx. €2.2m pa from a strong tenant line-up led by DIY retail giant Woodie’s. Other occupiers at the scheme include EZ Living, DID Electrical, Harry Corry, Jysk, Costa Coffee, Petmania and KFC. The WAULT to expiry is seven years. The Irish Times, 13th March

O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 Swedish fashion retailer H&M is in the final stages of fitting out its new 30,000 sq. ft store at Clerys Quarter and began trading last Friday from the ground and first floors of the scheme following a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony. Decathlon meanwhile is expected to open for business at Clerys Quarter this July. The French-headquartered sports clothing and equipment specialist agreed a deal to occupy the other half of the development’s 60,000 sq. ft of retail space in January. The overall development will comprise 92,600 sq. ft of new grade-A office space across two buildings, 60,000 sq. ft of retail, a 18,000 sq. ft panoramic rooftop restaurant, bar and events venue, five new food-and-beverage units, including the newly refurbished tea rooms, Pret A Manger which is already trading, and a new 213-bedroom Premier Inn hotel. The Irish Times, 12th March



Ballyconnell, Co Cavan The Slieve Russell hotel in Co Cavan is to come to the market in the next fortnight. CBRE, the property agent, has been appointed by liquidators for the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation to sell the four-star Slieve Russell. Market sources say the hotel will have an asking price of approx. €30m. The Sunday Times, 17th March

Cork The Sunday Times has learnt that Attestor Capital, a private equity firm based in London, is in talks to invest in Reardens Group, one of the biggest pub chains in Cork. The deal is expected to value it at approx. €27m. Margaret Kenneally, the group’s current owner, will stay involved in the chain, which includes Reardens and Le Cabaret on Washington Street and the Secret Garden and Hidden Attic on Hanover Street. The Sunday Times, 17th March

Talbot Place, Dublin 1 Azora, a Spanish fund manager, has emerged as the buyer of Jacobs Inn, one of Dublin’s largest hostels, which was sold in an off-market deal. BlackRock, the American investment giant, which had owned the 412-bed hostel since 2020, is thought to have sold the Talbot Place business for more than €30m. It is the firm’s first transaction in the hotel sector in Ireland. The Sunday Times, 17th March

Dublin Hotel Transactions The sale of the Dean Hotel Group by Paddy McKillen Jr and Matt Ryan to Life¬style Hospitality Capital was completed over the past couple of weeks, while Kennedy Wilson’s sale of the five-star Shelbourne in Dublin to Archer Hotel Capital, revealed by The Sunday Times in January, is also nearing completion. It is understood that the Cosgrave family’s Radisson St Helens hotel in South Dublin is likely to sell for more than its €45m asking price after attracting interest from at least ten bidders. The Sunday Times, 17th March

Charlemont Square, Dublin 2 The Irish restaurant group Krewe have agreed a deal to occupy Charlemont Square’s flagship 4,000 sq. ft dining space. News of Krewe’s arrival follows the recent opening of Tesco’s new 7,500 sq. ft store at the scheme. Charlemont Square comprises 355,000 sq. ft of office accommodation across two buildings with 30,000 sq. ft of dining and retail space and 194 private rental apartments. The Irish Times, 13th March

iNua Trading Newly filed accounts for iNua Hospitality Plc, a holding company in the group that operates some eight of iNua’s 20 venues dotted across the Republic, show the five-star Muckross Park Hotel & Spa operator enjoyed a 60 per cent bounce in turnover across its portfolio in 2022. After plunging to €22 million in 2020 when the sector was effectively shuttered by the pandemic, revenues approached €68.3 million in 2022, above pre-Covid levels and up from close to €42.7 million in 2021.
However, the group – founded by Paul Fitzgerald and Sean O’Driscoll through a management buyout of iNua in early 2020 – lost some €3.9 million in 2022, down from €5.9 million in 2021, mostly due to a sharp rise in operating and administrative expenses in the year. In particular, iNua beefed up staffing in the year, adding more than 250 jobs to bring its headcount to 1,359 for the full year, leading to a 40 per cent jump in its wage bill to €23.4 million. The Irish Times, 19th March



Parkmore West Business & Technology Park, Galway Harvey is guiding a price of €7.2m (NIY 6.25%) for a prime industrial investment at Parkmore West Business & Technology Park. Building 4 comes for sale fully let to Medtronic and is producing rental income of approx. €495.2k pa (€9.14 per sq. ft). The subject property comprises a modern, purpose-built detached industrial and office facility on a high-profile 2.73-acre site in Parkmore West Business & Technology Park. Parkmore was developed by and is actively managed by the IDA. Building 4 extends to a total gross external floor area of 54,165 sq. ft constructed in 2003. An extension was added to the property in 2006. Medtronic occupy the building under two leases, which are co-terminus in September 2043. The leases are FRI, with tenant-break options in September 2033, offering 9.5 years term-certain to a strong tenant covenant. Rent reviews are five-yearly and on an upwards-only basis. The Irish Times, 13th March

Shannon, Co Clare The ongoing growth of the Shannon Campus business park continues apace with two newly developed industrial buildings comprising a total of 100,000 sq. ft being offered to the lettings market. The first of these, Block R, comprises a 40,000 sq. ft manufacturing facility, along with a 6,000 sq. ft two-storey office block, circulation and meeting spaces. The second building, Block S, comprises a 60,000 sq. ft high-grade and multi-use industrial space, with the option for division into three separate units of 20,000sq ft each. The Irish Times, 13th March



Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2 The owner of Core Capital, Derek McGrath, is seeking a buyer for The Victorians, a complete and historically intact terrace of four Victorian buildings on Earlsfort Terrace in the heart of Dublin’s central business district. Nos. 15-18 Earlsfort Terrace – flanked on either side by the headquarters of leading law firm Arthur Cox and the newly completed Cadenza Building – are being offered for sale by agent Bannon on an off-market basis at a guide price of €8.75m (NIY 5.5%) with a rental income of approx. €523.5k pa. The four buildings are occupied by the serviced-office operator Iconic Offices under three separate co-terminus leases. The Irish Times, 13th March

Charlemont Square, Dublin 2 US-headquartered SEI, a provider of technology and investment solutions to the global financial services sector, has agreed a deal to occupy 25,000 sq. ft of office space at One Charlemont Square in Dublin City Centre. The company has entered into a new 10-year lease, and is understood to be paying a rent of approx. €57 per sq. ft. SEI’s new offices will be capable of accommodating over 200 workers. The Irish Times, 13th March

Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 18 Lower Leeson Street in Dublin 2 has secured its first two high-profile tenants since its major revamp by landlord Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland. The first companies occupying space in the refurbished, Grade A period offices are Falko Regional Aircraft Limited and Lockton Ireland. 18 Lower Leeson Street (formerly Ossory House) comprises 24,455 sq. ft of office space. The property is now 40% occupied and the floor plates are approx. 4,790 sq. ft per floor. The Business Post, 16th March



Quintain Sale Lone Star is weighing up the sale of Quintain Ireland, its €300m residential development business. According to React News, the private equity firm has instructed investment bank Rothschild & Co and Savills to explore various exit options, although the preferred avenue is understood to be a recapitalisation of Quintain’s Irish business. The strategic review being carried out by the advisers could also scope out potential site and/or asset sales. Quintain’s land bank has scope for over 9,000 residential units, equating to a gross development value north of £3bn. The developer is currently onsite in Adamstown, Clonburris, Portmarnock and Cherrywood.
Accounts for Quintain Developments Ireland Ltd show turnover of €13.8m and profit of €1.2m for 2022. The housebuilder is currently pushing on to sell 1,300 new homes at Cherrywood Village by 2025, while it has already built over 1,000 homes at its Adamstown and Portmarnock sites. ReactNews, 18th March

Peter McVerry Trust The Department of Housing has been criticised for refusing to release details around the restructuring of the Peter McVerry Trust following an unprecedented €15m government bailout for the housing and homeless charity. The Oireachtas housing committee is seeking to compel both the department and the trust to provide details of the plan to reform the organisation, however it has so far refused to engage on the matter. The trust has so far claimed over €9m in emergency funding as part of a bailout package approved by cabinet in December. A final payment of €5.6m is expected to be paid to the charity this month, however this will be dependent on the homeless charity meeting a number of conditions set out by Darragh O’Brien, the housing minister. It was reported last year that the charity owed €8.3m to Revenue arising from the Covid-era debt warehousing scheme. It also emerged that the charity had understated how much it spent on the running costs of property it owned by €1.3m, while overvaluing its assets by more than €3m in 2022. The Business Post, 13th March

Coolock, North Dublin Dublin City Council has refused planning permission to OTR Development Company for 330 apartments, 60 assisted-living units and retail space at the site of the former Cadbury’s pitch-and-putt course on the Oscar Traynor Road in North Dublin. The proposed scheme includes five retail units totalling 3,303sq m, including a neighbourhood store of 2,538sq m. The Large Scale Residential Development comprises six blocks rising from two to nine storeys. Planning permission was refused across three headings including one relating to the light-bellied Brent goose. The council said the applicant had failed to demonstrate to its satisfaction that the integrity of North Bull Island, South Dublin Bay and Baldoyle Special Protection Areas (SPAs) will not be adversely affected, particularly when considering the combined effects of other projects. The Irish Times, 14th March

Goatstown, Dublin 14 Ireland’s High Court has overturned planning permission issued by An Bord Pleanála (“ABP”), citing the lack of public transport available. The planning board had approved developer Knockrabo Investments DAC’s proposals for 227 apartments but the decision was challenged via judicial review. Justice David Holland’s decision said that he was not convinced that ABP’s planners are entitled to take a “build and public transport will come” approach when assessing a proposed project that does not meet the local development plan criteria. The board had to ensure the site at Knockrabo on Mount Anville Road “is well served by public transport with high capacity, frequent service and good links to other modes of public transport,” said the judge.
The planning inspector had said that there were buses and a Luas stop which was 1.7km away, pointing to planning policies, including the Draft Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy 2016-2035 which proposes upgrading passenger capacity on the existing Luas Green Line “as required to meet demand”.
However the existing line has also been said to be operating close to its maximum theoretical capacity at peak times, with the judge pointing out that the inadequacy had already been anticipated in 2016.
He said that the developer had failed to demonstrate that the site will be served by public transport as required while the board failed to consider and conclude per law the issue of current capacity. The judge has also dismissed all other grounds of challenge.
The Goatstown site spans 6.8 acres of land and is owned by Bain Capital. The site has extant planning permission for 81 homes and apartments although ABP had granted a Strategic Housing Development planning consent for 227 residential units in March 2022. ReactNews, 14th March

Ires Reit, the state’s biggest landlord, has announced that former Quintain boss Eddie Byrne will succeed Margaret Sweeney as chief executive of the company. Last year, the company announced that Sweeney would step down from her role next year after six years at the helm. In a stock market update, Ires Reit said that Byrne will join the company on April 8 before taking over as chief executive at the beginning of May. The Business Post, 13th March

Housing Commission Report Blockages to critical infrastructure like electricity and water now represent a serious long-term threat to the country’s housing targets, the government’s Housing Commission will warn. As part of a milestone report on the country’s future housing policy, the expert group is set to tell the government that delays to key services provided by Uisce Éireann and ESB are a major obstacle for developers. The commission, which includes industry, legal, and academic experts, is worried about the prospect of major water shortages in the greater Dublin area within six years. It is understood that developers have also told the commission the cost of getting water and electricity connections is a key issue when it comes to delivering housing, along with the length of time involved. The Housing Commission, a heavyweight group of 12 experts, is the latest in a long line of stakeholders to warn the Department of Housing that infrastructure blockages are a substantial risk. The Business Post, 17th March

Planning Permissions The number of planning permissions granted for new homes last year jumped by more than a fifth, with apartment units accounting for more than half the total. CSO figures show the number of dwelling units granted planning in 2023 rose by 21% to 41,225 units. The number of houses granted planning permission increased by 13% to 19,738 while apartment permissions rose by 28.5% to 21,487 units. Dublin accounted for 64% of all apartments approved in 2023, followed by Cork at 14% and Meath at 3%. In terms of house units granted planning permission in 2023, Dublin accounted for the largest number of houses with 24% followed by Cork with 14% and Meath with 7%. The Irish Times, 14th March

Planning System More than two-thirds of the 147,000 housing units applied for under the Government’s now-defunct Strategic Housing Development system remain undeveloped, according to figures sourced from the industry. It was scrapped last year after SHD projects resulted in 48 judicial review cases in the High Court. Industry figures show that of the 147,000 units applied for under the scheme between 2017 and 2023, 98,736 were granted planning while 29,690 were refused by An Bord Pleanála. A third of the units that were granted planning permission (31,474) were either quashed or remain stalled by legal action, the figures show. A further 19,192 units remain in the pipeline, on hold because of the decision-making logjam at An Bord Pleanála. The average period they have been pending is 95 weeks. Planning determinations were meant to take 16 weeks.
Of the 67,262 units that were granted permission and did not end up in legal action, the figures show 42,197 are either commenced, under construction or completed, while a further 25,065 units are available for commencement. The SHD system has now been replaced by the Large-Scale Residential Development system which restores the local authority as the primary planning decision maker. The Irish Times, 18th March



Kerry Tourism The State is to be the new owner of a Kerry river and lake fishery at the famed Connor Pass previously owned by a British peer, a Luxembourg-based steel industrialist, and several private Irish citizens. The approximately €1.5m acquisition of the ‘source to sea’ Owenmore Fishery on 480 acres, to include 180 acres of water in nine lakes, is very close to concluding, sources confirm.
It will be added to the 1,400 acres the State has also been negotiating on since 2023, widely expected to create a new National Park and visitor attraction starting at close to 2,000 wild acres and Special Area of Conservation at the Dingle Peninsula’s magnificent 1,500ft high Connor Pass.
Once both are secured, the adjacent tracts of land and lakes on the northern side of Dingle’s Connor Pass could enable Ireland’s eighth national park, and just the second of the 21st century after the Boyne Valley opened in 2023. The Examiner, 17th March

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