23rd January (Issue 431)

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.



Douglas Court Shopping Centre has been sold for more than €21m to the O’Leary family, formerly of Cork-based O’Leary Insurances. The sale will see a partnership of Anthony O’Leary and his three sons, Nicholas, Robert and Peter take over one of the most high-profile shopping destinations in Cork City’s suburbs. The sale of 160,000 sq. ft Douglas Court to a well-known local family marks a departure from a wider trend of foreign funds buying up landmark retail properties. Douglas Court, where the anchor tenant is Dunnes Stores, is an acquisition valued at €25m, according to its new owners. Industry sources indicated that it transacted for in the order of €21.5m. Accounts filed by the vendors, Chandos Investments, valued it at €22.86m as of June 30, 2021. The Irish Examiner, 17th January

Dublin 2 The St Stephen’s Green collection, which incorporates Nos. 1, 3 and 5 St Stephen’s Green, as well as a separate mews building, is being sold by Aviva’s Irish Commercial Property Fund, and is being brought to market by Savills for €13.5m. The buildings extend to a total floor area of 15,761 sq. ft, and include a former outlet of Oasis as well as a property currently let to UK fashion retailer Reiss. The combined properties generate a total rental income of €704k a year and are available in one or separate lots. Lot 1, which is guiding €7m, comprises 1 St Stephen’s Green, which extends to 4,337 sq. ft, and includes ground floor retail accommodation, with storage and ancillary accommodation laid out on the first, second and third floors. The entire property is leased to Reiss, which recently refurbished the ground floor, on a 25-year FRI lease, from August 13th, 2002, and is subject to a passing rent of €695k pa. The second lot offers a refurbishment/development opportunity, with a guide price of €6.5m, and comprises Nos. 3 and 5 St Stephen’s Green, which are being sold with full vacant possession, as well as a mews building at 7 Anne’s Lane. The latter extends to 1,068 sq. ft and is held on a short-term licence at €9k a year. The Irish Times, 17th January

O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 Pan-European real estate investor Europa Capital, plus local partners Core Capital and Oakmount, have signed French sports retailer Decathlon in a major new letting for Clerys Quarter. Decathlon will occupy 30,000 sq. ft on a 30-year lease. The space was originally earmarked for a Flannels department store in a proposed deal that ended with the parties set to go to court in October before an adjournment for mediation. The new store will be Decathlon’s flagship city centre store, with the doors expected to open in mid-2024. The deal completes the retail lettings at Clerys Quarter. Decathlon joins H&M, which is fitting out its 30,000 sq. ft unit, its largest store in the city, for a spring opening, as well as sushi chain Rolled, which is also due to open in the spring. Pret a Manger opened its ground-floor retail unit in December. The Earl Building, representing approx. a third of the office space at the converted department store, sold to the Health Service Executive, according to a November announcement. Bisnow, 18th January

Cushman & Wakefield Report As much as €402m worth of retail properties were sold in over 36 transactions in the Irish market in 2023. Not only do these figures represent an 8% increase on 2022 but it was also the highest annual total recorded in both volume and number of transactions since 2019. These are among the findings in Cushman & Wakefield’s latest report on the retail sector. Retail assets accounted for close to 19% of overall investment turnover in Ireland in 2023, up significantly from just over 8% in 2022. But that increased market share also reflected a drop in sales of other types of properties, including offices and apartment blocks. The most sizeable retail transaction of the year was the sale of a portfolio in the third quarter to a fund managed by Davy Real Estate. It paid €74m for the Hexagon portfolio, a collection of six shopping centres including Donaghmede in Dublin, Parkway in Limerick and others in Galway, Laois, Letterkenny and Louth. The Irish Independent, 17th January



Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 A prime office at Dublin’s most prestigious business address has been launched for a €40m sale (NIY approx. 5%). 40 Molesworth Street, owned by the State Street-managed WindWise Property Fund, is being marketed by Savills Ireland. The asset includes 30,000 sq. ft of grade A office space, along with 3,650 sq. ft of retail over the ground and basement levels. The office element is leased in its entirety to law firm DLA Piper, while Specsavers occupies the retail space. Offering a WAULT of approx. 12 years to expiry and 5.25 to breaks, the asset generates a rent roll of €2.175m a year. React News, 22nd January

Clonskeagh, Dublin 14 Eagle Street Partners has completed a significant lease renewal at Richview Office Park in the south Dublin suburb of Clonskeagh. US-headquartered Curtiss-Wright Avionics and Electronics has extended its current lease for all 25,000 sq. ft of office space at Block 5 for a further 10 years. The company is understood to have agreed a rent of approx. €27 per sq. ft. The building will undergo a series of upgrades, including the replacement of gas-fired systems with electric alternatives, installation of solar power, and LED lighting. Eagle Street Partners is investing approx. €2.7m in the project. The Irish Times, 17th January



Tifco Portfolio Apollo Global Management has withdrawn the sale of an approx. €500m Irish hotel portfolio and is looking to refinance the largest part of it instead, CoStar reports. When bids failed to meet its valuation, the U.S. private equity firm decided to keep the Tifco portfolio after hiring Eastdil Secured and JLL to sell it last year. Apollo is now looking to refinance an approx. €175m senior loan from Deutsche Bank set to mature in the spring, according to a source familiar with the situation. It is reportedly secured against 14 Crowne Plaza and Travelodge hotels worth approx. €300m. Bisnow 22nd January

Navan, Co Meath Ryan’s Bar on Trimgate Street is for sale by private treaty through joint agents BDM Property and REA T&J Gavigan with a guide of €1.35m. The pub on offer extends to approx. 7,986 sq. ft and is presented in good condition throughout. It comprises a large ground floor lounge bar with several individually styled and furnished areas including a cocktail bar. Outside, there is a large beer garden with a covered seating area and veranda. On the first floor there is a function room fitted out in a contemporary style. The Business Post, 19th January



Ballymount, Dublin 12 Developer Michael Cotter’s Park Developments has started construction of Apex Hub in Ballymount. Located on Calmount Road, the scheme will comprise five logistics units ranging in size from 34,000 sq. ft to 45,000 sq. ft upon completion, totalling 205,000 sq. ft. Each unit will be available for sale or to let. The Apex Hub site has scope for the development of an additional block of enterprise units, subject to planning permission. The Apex Hub scheme will offer occupiers flexible layouts capable of accommodating requirements of between 34,000 and 100,000 sq. ft. The Irish Times, 17th January



Dundrum, Dublin 14 Developer Pat Crean’s Marlet Property Group has agreed a €113.6m refinancing facility with a fund managed by BlackRock for an apartment development in Dundrum. Green Acre Grange, adjacent to Airfield’s urban farm, is a development of 307 build-to-rent apartments, with a full suite of tenant amenities including a concierge service, gym, cinema room, lounge and meeting rooms as well as play and outdoor recreation areas. Apartments at the development, which have recently come to the rental market, start at €2.15k pm. Green Acre Grange is part of DUBLIV, Marlet’s build-to-rent platform which manages the company’s existing residential portfolio including One Lime Street in Dublin 2, St Clare’s Park in Harold’s Cross, and Walled Garden in Dundrum. The Irish Times, 17th January

Dundrum, Dublin 14 Plans to build 852 homes at the site of the former Central Mental Hospital are being held up by just one objection, an Oireachtas Committee will hear. Despite other locals having no objection to the Dundrum development, a judicial review taken by one person has halted the project, which was granted planning permission last year. In its opening statement to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage, chief executive of the Land Development Agency (LDA) John Coleman said Dundrum Central is “an area of extremely high need”. The planning permission covers 23.2 acres of the site where the old Central Mental Health Hospital used to be situated. The development would involve over a third of the land being converted into public realms, including landscaped green spaces. The bulk of the housing units would be apartments, but there will also be duplexes and houses. Initially, the LDA planned to deliver 1,200 new housing units, including a 14-storey apartment block. However, following public consultation, the height was scaled back to 11-storeys. This was then further reduced to seven-storeys when permission was sought in March 2022. The Journal, 23rd January

Ires Reit Several potential bidders for Ires Reit assets have emerged from a period of intensive engagement between the activist investor Vision Capital and players in the residential real estate sector. The hedge fund, which is trying to overturn the Ires board and force the company into a sale of its portfolio of approx. 4,000 apartments over the next two years, has been canvassing opinion in the industry as part of a campaign to persuade fellow shareholders to back its divestment plan. Sources familiar with the discussions said that the wide-ranging talks with agents, funders and asset managers had yielded numerous inbound queries, especially from Germany, after thrusting Irish residential property back in the spotlight. The Sunday Times, 21st January

Stamp Duty Darragh O’Brien, the minister for housing, has said that he is angered by the sale of 46 homes in a Dublin housing estate to an investment fund and that the rate of stamp duty paid by investors that bulk-buy property “needs to be reviewed”. The comments were made in response to calls from Pearse Doherty, the Sinn Féin finance spokesperson, to hike the rate of stamp duty for bulk purchasers from 10% to 17%. In 2021, separate rules introduced by O’Brien also aimed to prevent the bulk purchase of homes by allowing local authorities to ringfence homes in new housing estates for owner-occupiers. O’Brien said these measures have protected 40,000 units in new planning permissions for owner-occupiers only. The Business Post, 18th January

Portlaoise, Co Laois Leinster property developer Lismard Developments is selling a site which benefits from development potential for a retail park in Portlaoise, Co Laois. The lands extend to 5.18 acres and Cushman & Wakefield is quoting €1m for it. It is close to both Lismard Business Park and Portlaoise Retail Park. The site is also close to other retail hubs including Laois Shopping Centre and The Kyle Centre and is just one kilometre from Portlaoise town centre. The property is a greenfield site with a relatively flat topography throughout. The lands are zoned entirely ‘GE – General Business’ under the Laois County Development Plan 2021 – 2027 and under this zoning, a full retail warehousing development is permitted in principle. The Irish Independent, 18th January

Maylor Street, Cork Intersport Elverys, the owners of the former Debenhams’ store in Cork City centre, have scooped up another three properties on Maylor Street as part of a plan to develop a hotel and other accommodation facilities in the heart of Cork City. The acquisition of 38-40 Maylor Street, in addition to the city’s iconic store which it bought last May, is being hailed as a “pivotal step” in helping restore city centre fortunes. While the deal was done off-market and the price was not disclosed, the properties were due to go to market for in excess of €1.5m. The Irish Examiner, 22nd January

Horgan’s Quay, Cork Developers of a 302-unit residential block on Horgan’s Quay, earmarked for cost-rental housing, are in talks to clear the way for a third of the apartments to be sold to owner/occupiers. Clarendon Properties/BAM are in discussions with the government’s Housing Agency to see if agreement can be reached to allow the sale of approx. 100 apartments to owner/occupiers under the Croí Cónaithe (Cities) subsidised building scheme. If agreement is reached, Ronan Downing, development director with Clarendon Properties, reckons they can bring the riverside apartments to market with a starting price of €340k. The Horgan’s Quay development will be the docklands’ first large-scale residential scheme. At Horgan’s Quay, the apartment scheme will consist of a single stepped block, up to 11 storeys in height, wrapping around three sides of a raised courtyard. The Irish Examiner, 17th January

Donaghmede, North Co Dublin Cushman & Wakefield is guiding a price of €2m for a ready-to-go residential development site in the north Dublin suburb of Donaghmede. Situated at the roundabout junction at the Hole in the Wall Road and the R139, the subject site extends to 0.47 acres and comes to the market with full planning permission from Dublin City Council for the construction of 42 apartments. The scheme, which received approval in November 2023, will comprise a part six-storey/part seven-storey development along with 44 car parking spaces at undercroft level. The Irish Times, 17th January

Enniskerry, Co Wicklow A High Court challenge to permission for 165 homes in the village of Enniskerry has been settled. Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys was told this week that the case has been resolved and did not require further legal costs orders. The judge struck out the action on the application of James Devlin SC, instructed by FP Logue Solicitors, for the applicants, with consent from An Bord Pleanála. No further details of the resolution were provided to the court. The judicial review was initiated in October 2021 by local interest group Enniskerry Alliance and the manager of a neighbouring housing complex, Enniskerry Demesne Management CLG. The Irish Times, 18th January



Blackrock, South Dublin Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has given the Department of Education permission to change the use of Abilene House, a protected residential structure on Newtownpark Avenue, to create a new post-primary school and two new four-storey school blocks on the 1.2-acre site. According to the planning application, the Government, which purchased the site in 2018 for €8m, plans to convert, renovate and reorder Abilene House and its walled garden to create a school for 1,000 pupils, including a Special Education Needs unit of four classrooms. The total gross floor area planned is 130,146 sq. ft. The development will also include two new school blocks, Block A at 61,505 sq. ft to the south-east of the house and Block B at 63,356 sq. ft built to the north-west of Abilene House. The €11.4m development also includes all ancillary staff and student facilities; hard and soft play areas and a PE hall and a general-purpose hall. The Business Post, 19th January


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