20th February (Issue 435)

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.



Talbot Place, Dublin 1 The US investment giant BlackRock is preparing to sell Jacobs Inn, one of Dublin’s largest and busiest hostels in the city’s North Docks on Talbot Place. The Sunday Times understands a European investor has agreed to buy the hostel for more than €30m in an off-market deal. BlackRock’s Real Asset Securities fund originally acquired Jacobs Inn for €30m in 2020 as part of a joint venture with Amistat Continental, a specialist European hostel operator based in Spain. The partners purchased the 412-bed property from Patron Capital and CoDE Pod Hostels, which had completed an extensive refurbishment of the site. Patron and CoDE had bought the building for approx. €14.5m in 2018 with refurbishment reported to have cost €5m, resulting in at least a 50% gain on the original investment. The Sunday Times, 18th February

Sandymount, Dublin 4 Agar Commercial Property Consultants is handling the sale of No. 2a Sandymount Green, a well known local bistro restaurant outlet overlooking Sandymount Green in Dublin 4 and which formerly traded as Mario’s. Subject to contract, the guide price is €1.7m. No. 2a comprises a two-storey licensed premises which spans a total area of approx. 4,822 sq. ft. Part of the first floor and the attic generate an annual income of approx. €20k exclusive from a letting to Platinum Pilates Studio. The studio is let for a term of five years from January 2024 and the tenant is liable for the payment of rates and landlord’s insurance. In terms of the former eaterie, the ground floor comprises an extensively fitted out restaurant with a bar area, a well-equipped kitchen together with preparation/stores at the rear. The Business Post, 17th February

Marlborough Street, Dublin 1 Hilton’s fast-growing Home2 Suites brand will make its European debut in Dublin next year. The Hilton brand is partnering with UK hospitality group JMK to launch the new venue on Marlborough Street. The property will feature 290 rooms, including 214 king studio suites and 76 one-bedroom suites, and will open in 2025. The extended-stay, pet-friendly hotel concept is designed to offer upmarket accommodation with flexible guest configurations. The Irish Times, 20th February



North Wall Quay, Dublin 1 Pimco has appointed Interpath Advisory as receivers to North Docks 1 and 2, two office buildings in Dublin’s North Docks. Spanning 200,000 sq. ft, one of the nine-storey office blocks front on to the River Liffey. When completed the Grade A office block became the city’s first nZEB (nearly zero-energy building) office development. The buildings are owned by Targeted Investment Opportunities (TIO), which is controlled by Oaktree Capital Management. Minority shareholders are Nama, which controls 20%, and Bennett Construction, a 10% shareholder. Filings with the commercial property price register show that a number of 10 to 15-year leases have been signed, with a combined annual rent roll of €5m. The lease of another floor is going through legals. Pimco is owed €120m. Nama, which sold the site in 2017, lent €15m to the development company while Oaktree is owed approx. €20m plus interest. The Sunday Times, 18th February

Elmpark Green, Dublin 4 The HSE is understood to be vying to secure ownership of US property giant Starwood’s remaining interests at Elmpark Green, the vast office and residential scheme developed in 2007 at a cost of €550m. The State’s health authority is said by market sources to be facing competition from a number of parties including Core Capital, Tetrarch Capital and Lugus Capital for the portfolio, which comprises eight commercial assets including the Seamark and Vista buildings. While CBRE had been guiding a price of €55m for the Elmpark Green scheme, The Irish Times understands the front-runners in the process have tabled offers ranging from €45m to €50m. Should a sale of the Elmpark Green portfolio proceed at the €50m level it would represent a significant discount for the purchaser on the €190m Starwood paid in 2016 to secure ownership of the current portfolio and two other assets that it later sold. The most significant of the assets now being offered for sale at Elmpark Green is the Seamark building. Extending to 184,000 sq. ft, the subject property underwent a €45m refurbishment in 2018. The other remaining assets include the 91,000 sq. ft Vista Building, which is leased to global healthcare company Novartis, producing an annual income of €1.8m, and six ancillary commercial units extending to a combined 44,000 sq. ft. The Irish Times, 16th February



Orbital Portfolio, Dublin Palm Capital has instructed agents to sell a €40m urban logistics portfolio located around Dublin. CBRE and Lisney have been mandated to market the Orbital Portfolio – a platform that includes four assets, totalling approx. 230,000 sq. ft. The assets, located in Dublin’s prime industrial zones, are Building 1 Damastown Close, Damastown Industrial Park; 100 Northwest Business Park; 15 Magna Drive, Magna Business Park; and 48 Furze Road, Sandyford Industrial Estate. Orbital’s tenant roster – West, Oasis, Actavo and Jaguar Land Rover – currently generates €2.24m in annual rent, supported by a WAULT of 13.4 years. Rent reviews in 2025 and 2028 across the portfolio are projected to increase the annual rent to more than €2.6m. Two of the assets, Damastown and Northwest Business Park, have uncapped CPI rent reviews that will capture the recent surge in inflation. React News, 13th February



Tara Street, Dublin 2 The developer Johnny Ronan is fighting to retain the rights to develop his flagship Tara Street project, Dublin’s tallest office and hotel, after threats from CIÉ which is seeking to retake possession of the site. CIÉ, the semi-state body which owns the land beside Tara Street Dart Station, had granted Ronan Group Real Estate a licence to develop the location after an open request for applications in 2015. In August last year the licence lapsed, calling into question the development of one of Dublin’s most sought-after sites. A source close to the Ronan Group said that it intended to reapply for planning permission to develop the location as a hotel despite no longer possessing the licence to the site. The Ronan Group previously received permission to build a 23-storey tower with an office and hotel at Tara Street, to be named AquaVetro. This followed years of back and forth with Dublin city council, which rejected a proposal to develop the site as an office block. A change in EU law means that the group must reapply for planning permission instead of rolling over the previous approval. The Sunday Times, 18th February



Greystones, Co Wicklow A private Irish family fund has bought the Meridian Point shopping centre in Greystones for more than €7m. The new owner is understood to have secured the property in the face of several bids from a range of parties following a competitive sales process conducted by Avison Young on behalf of the scheme’s outgoing owner and developer, the Cosgrave Property Group. The price paid for Meridian Point represents a premium of 27% on the €5.5m price that had been guided when the scheme was brought to the market last year. Meridian Point is fully occupied with a strong tenant line-up which includes Sports Direct, Costa Coffee, Chakra by Jaipur restaurant, the Grafton Barber and the post office. The development also includes a 180-space car park. Meridian Point comprises 20 tenancies in total made up of a mix of uses. The net rent receivable is €582.8k pa with a WAULT of just more than six years to lease expiry and over four years to lease break. The Irish Times, 14th February

Grafton Street, Dublin 2 Arket, the Swedish fashion retailer, is understood to have agreed a 10-year lease for 11,000 sq. ft of space across the ground- and first-floor levels of Grafton Place. Arket’s decision to locate its first Irish store at Grafton Place follows a protracted period of negotiations between the retailer and the scheme’s developer owners, MARK and BCP Asset Management. Completed last summer, Grafton Place comprises 46,000 sq. ft of retail and leisure space along with 145,000 sq. ft of grade A office accommodation at 60 Dawson Street. The Irish Times, 14th February

St Patrick’s Street, Cork Krispy Kreme has appealed against Cork City Council’s decision to refuse permission for its location on St Patrick’s Street in the city centre. The retailer had sought retention permission from Cork City Council for a change of use from previous retail use to a cafe, as well as the retention of shopfront and signage at its branch on 42 Patrick’s Street. It took out a 10-year lease on the ground floor only of Porter’s, which closed in October 2022. However, a council inspector examined the latest planning and said that the proposed use by Krispy Kreme would be contrary to the Cork City development plan. Krispy Kreme has now appealed that decision to An Bord Pleanála. The Irish Examiner, 18th February



Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 No. 64 Lower Baggot Street, which has been in the ownership of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) since 1890, is being offered to the market by Colliers at a guide price of €3.5m. No. 64 briefly comprises a three-storey over-basement end-of-terrace Georgian building on a site of 0.2 acres. A protected structure, the property and its mews extend across a total area of 10,500 sq. ft and currently are in use as student accommodation. There are 21 bedrooms in total, with eight in the main building and 13 in the mews. All of them are en-suite. The main building extends to 6,700 sq. ft, is in excellent condition, and comprises eight bedrooms, ancillary storage, a kitchen, dining room and offices. The mews, at 5 Convent Close, comprises a three-storey building of 3,700 sq. ft developed in 2006. The Irish Times, 14th February

Model Farm Road, Cork A proposed student apartment development on Cork’s Model Farm Road has been refused planning due to its height. Cork property developer Lyonshall was denied permission for its proposal to redevelop the former St Joseph’s Convent and adjacent land to construct a 450-bed student apartment development. The scheme was to be made up of three apartment blocks, ranging from two to five storeys, and include 42 apartments, which would range between three and six bedrooms. Lyonshall had previously confirmed it was examining the decision and considering an appeal to An Bord Pleanála. The Irish Examiner, 15th February



South Dublin The religious order behind some of South Dublin’s most prestigious schools is preparing to sell off part of its land. Spiritan Ireland, formerly known as the Holy Ghost Fathers, has assembled a committee to consult on the potential sale. It is understood that plots at St Michael’s College and Willow Park, the feeder school for Blackrock College, have been identified for possible sale. The Spiritans own several schools in Dublin, including St Mary’s College in Rathmines and Blackrock and Templeogue colleges. St Michael’s sits on 14 acres of land at the corner of Merrion and Ailesbury roads, where property prices are high. Willow Park junior and senior schools are on 65 acres of parkland on the Rock Road in Blackrock. The schools have a number of playing pitches and a swimming pool is being built at St Michael’s. The Sunday Times, 18th February

House Price Inflation The average price of a home in Ireland increased to €335.52k in the second half of last year, as residential property inflation outside of Dublin increased above the national average. The latest Residential Property Price Barometer published by the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers shows that property prices increased by 2.99% in the latter half of 2023, up from 2.05% in the previous six months. However, this figure was driven lower by price stagnation in Dublin, suggesting the housing market in the capital may have reached a peak. Meanwhile, while many regional areas of the country are seeing increases in the 5 to 7% range. The Business Post, 18th February

Drumalee, Co Cavan Joint agents Bannon and Sherry FitzGerald Declan Woods are guiding a price of €1.5m for a 11.80-acre site zoned for residential development on the outskirts of Cavan Town. Located just 1.2km from Main Street in Cavan town centre, the subject site at Drumalee has two land-use designations within the Cavan Town Local Area Plan 2022-2028. The lands are being sold on behalf of St Patrick’s Trust, which holds the property in trust on behalf of the Diocese of Kilmore. The Irish Times, 14th February

Rochestown, Cork O’Flynn Construction has been granted permission to develop new apartments in Rochestown. The developer had been granted permission by Cork City Council for the works, located at Clarkeswood, Rochestown. First- and third- party appeals saw the matter referred to An Bord Pleanála, which has now upheld the initial decision. The scheme is to be located on a 4-acre site south of Mount Oval, a small residential estate of detached houses. The apartments would be built in three- to five- storey units. In its initial application, the developer sought to build 45 apartments. In granting planning, Cork City Council stipulated the scheme be reduced in size to 31, a reduction of 14 apartments. The developer appealed this condition, noting it would reduce the scheme by almost one- third, describing it as “unreasonable”. An Bord Pleanála has upheld the local council’s decision, granting permission for 31 apartments, not 45 as initially sought. The Irish Examiner, 15th February

Clontarf, Dublin 3 The High Court has overturned permission for 131 rental apartments in Clontarf, Dublin after finding a roofed courtyard did not constitute “open” space. Mr. Justice David Holland also held that An Bord Pleanála erred by failing to consider whether it should seek information from Dublin Bus about its capacity to service the area at peak times. The Irish Times, 15th February

Monkstown Road, South Dublin Plans by US-headquartered Greystar for a €180m build-to-rent scheme on grounds around Dalguise House on Monkstown Road in South Dublin have been given the green light by An Bord Pleanála. The appeals board overturned a refusal of the proposal by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. The scheme had faced local opposition, with more than 70 objections lodged against the scheme. Greystar subsidiary GEDV Monkstown Owner Ltd initially proposed to build 488 apartments on the site but, in its decision, An Bord Pleanála approved a scaled-down scheme, ordering the removal of 101 units from the plan. Of the remaining 387 units, 384 will be build-to-rent apartments. The appeals board has ordered the removal of the tallest of the proposed 10 apartment blocks – the nine-storey Block E – entirely and a reduction of height in Block F by one level to six storeys. The appeals board has also reduced Blocks B and C by one level to a height of six storeys. The Irish Times, 14th February

Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6W The owner of the Mount Jerome crematorium has said that a planned 181-unit apartment scheme for Harold’s Cross looks like something from Silicon Docks landing in Harold’s Cross. The submission is one of 40 lodged in respect of Adroit Company’s plans for a Large Scale Residential scheme on Harold’s Cross Road in Dublin 6W that consists of four apartment blocks rising to between four and seven storeys. The scheme also involves the demolition of 50 dwellings at Harold’s Bridge Court. An Bord Pleanála previously refused planning permission for a Strategic Housing Development (SHD) on the site. A planning report by Armstrong Fenton Associates said that design amendments had been incorporated into the new proposal to address the previous reason for the refusal of the SHD scheme. The report said that the amendments included a reduction in the building heights, bulk and massing of Blocks A, B and C as well as design amendments to all of the buildings. A decision is due on the scheme early next month. The Irish Times, 19th February

Monivea Road, Galway A new €40m social and affordable housing development earmarked for Galway city, which will be constructed using modern methods of construction, has been announced by approved housing body Tuath Housing. The Clai Mór scheme, which is to be located on Monivea Road, will comprise 102 homes, including 28 cost-rental units, which will be rented to qualifying tenants at sub-market rates. Under the Government’s cost-rental tenure model, rents must be at least 25% below market values. Tuath Housing said the scheme, which is being undertaken in collaboration with Galway City Council, the Housing Finance Agency, the Housing Agency and the Department of Housing, would take approx. 18 months to complete and cost €40.2m. Apart from the 28 cost-rental units, the development will include 41 general needs social housing units and a further 33 units with additional supports. The Irish Times, 19th February

Irish credit unions have been making solid inroads into the mortgage market, with a 15% increase in mortgage lending in the final quarter of last year, new Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) results showed. That brings the total mortgage loan-book of ILCU-affiliated credit unions to more than €500m, as they look to compete with pillar banks in the mortgage market, triggered by major reforms in the credit union sector. The figures, which came as part of the ILCU quarter one results, show that overall lending increased 2.2% on a quarterly basis by affiliated credit unions – which represents 92% of all Irish credit unions. This was up from the figure of 0.9% in the same quarter last year. The assets of ILCU-affiliated credit unions have also risen by 40% to €18bn in the last decade, while savings held in those credit unions have risen to €15bn. Arrears are at a near-record low, the representative group said, at 2.7%, compared to the 90-day arrears ratio rate of 4.1% overall. The Business Post, 20th February



Energy Performance of Buildings Directive On 7th December 2023, the European Parliament and the European Council reached a provisional political agreement on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive which specifically tackles energy performance within buildings and sets targets for member States to achieve. This directive was drafted after estimates suggested ‘75% of the building stock is inefficient’ within the EU and ‘85-95% of the buildings that exist today will still be standing in 2050’. Targets have been set to renovate the 16% worst-performing buildings by 2030, and the 26% worst-performing buildings by 2033, to certain energy performance standards. This will result in one in four commercial buildings being required to be upgraded in less than 10 years. By applying this percentage to the Non-Domestic BER rating statistic for 2023, all G, F, E, and some D-rated buildings will require renovation. Lisney Report, 13th February


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