24th August (Issue 311)

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.




Social Housing, Donabate Cannon Kirk, the Dublin-based housebuilding firm, is planning to charge a local authority more than €36 million for 136 homes as part of a proposed new development on the north side of Dublin. Planning documents submitted by Aledo Donabate, a company owned by the directors of Cannon Kirk, show Fingal County Council has been asked to pay more than €500,000 each for two three-bedroom units at the €448 million Donabate complex. Aledo Donabate has also put a price tag of €493,000 on other three-bed units and has sought almost €420,000 each for six duplexes. The complex will also include 49 sheltered accommodation apartments, which will be taken on by Clúid Housing. The new residential development, which comes to 27 hectares, will include three childcare facilities, two cafes and five retail units. It will comprise both houses and apartments, with 131 four-bedroom houses and 206 three-bed houses. Aledo Donabate is seeking ten years of planning permission and anticipates that the development of the complex could take more than five years, the planning documents show. The firm said the development would “contribute towards Donabate fulfilling its role as a strategic development area” in Dublin. An Bord Pleanála will decide on the application by November 29th. The Business Post, 18th August

KBC House Prices Survey Seventy percent of Irish consumers expect house prices to rise by at least 4 per cent per annum over the next three years, according to a survey by KBC Bank Ireland. Higher expectations of property price increases were slightly more evident in Connacht, Ulster and the Border region, probably reflecting comparatively strong recent price trends in these areas, the study found. The most common expectation nationally was that prices would rise by 4-5 per cent. KBC Bank Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes said the findings suggested home-buyer demand would be likely to remain “well underpinned” in the year ahead. “It may also hint that the balance of risks in terms of property price inflation could be clearly weighted towards the upside,” he said. “In turn, this might suggest the thrust of upcoming housing market policy interventions should be to calm rather than create additional demand,” he said. Several groups have criticised the Government’s new shared equity housing scheme, believing that it could be inflationary. “It may say something about the roller-coaster nature of the Irish property market that only 5 per cent of consumers see prices being broadly flat over the next three years,” Mr. Hughes said. The Irish Times, 19th August

Drumcondra, Dublin 3 Some residents in Drumcondra,  are urging An Bord Pleanála to refuse permission for 1,614 build-to-rent apartments on Clonliffe Road, 70 per cent of which will be studio or one-bedroom units. US property group Hines is seeking permission to develop apartment blocks up to 18-storeys tall on the site of the old Holy Cross seminary. A local campaign group, Stop Holy Cross College, said the development of rental-only apartments could lead to rent and house price inflation, lower living standards and “a return to absentee landlords”. Hines said the proposed development responded to the demand and demographic of the area, where 51 percent of households are either single occupancy or couples without children. The apartment mix is future-proofed, it said, and the design can respond to market demand where two one-bed units could be converted into three-bed units. The archdiocese of Dublin two years ago sold the lands to the GAA for about €95 million. The GAA sold about eight hectares to Hines and is separately building a 200-bed hotel elsewhere on the site, which is close to Croke Park. The Irish Times, 18th August

Belmayne, North Dublin An Bord Pleanála has given the green light to “fast-track” plans for 260 apartments at Belmayne in north Dublin. The appeals board has granted planning permission to Balgriffin Ltd for the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) scheme that rises to seven storeys in height. The scheme comprises 108 one-bed units, 135 two-bed and 17 three-bed. The site is located adjacent to the existing Belmayne estate on the corner of Churchwell Road and Churchwell Crescent in Dublin 13. In compliance with its social housing obligations, the developer is proposing to sell 26 apartments for €7 million to Dublin City Council for social housing. Dublin City Council recommended that planning permission be granted subject to 10 conditions. The Irish Times, 19th August

Cabinteely Dublin 18  Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is to pay up to €2 million a year to lease a block of 81 apartments for social housing at Beechpark, Cabinteely, in south Dublin. The newly-built development, just beyond the turning for Cabinteely village on the N11, comprises about 240 units in a mix of houses and apartments. A spokesman for the council said it would lease 81 apartments in total, made up of 15 one-bed and 66 two-bed apartments. The properties will be allocated to families and individuals who are on the council’s housing waiting list. The council will lease the apartments from Irish property investor Ardstone, which acquired about 140 apartments at the development for €66 million, or about €471,000 each, earlier this year. It’s understood that the second block of apartments will also be rented, to a mix of social and private tenants. Now residents who bought homes in the development fear the new lease agreement on the apartment block will lead to an “oversaturation” of social housing. Speaking to The Irish Times, two home owners in the development note that given that a further 14 houses may be allocated to the council under Part V obligations, this would bring the proportion of social housing at the development to 41 per cent, a figure which they say is “extremely significant”. Most of the houses in the development have now been sold, but residents also fear the impact the scale of social housing in the development may have on the resale value of their properties. The Irish Times, 21st August

Blackrock, Dublin Plans are to be lodged shortly for a 244-unit, build-to-rent apartment complex on lands formerly owned by Blackrock College in south Dublin. Lioncor Developments is to lodge fast-track plans with An Bord Pleanála for the scheme at Cross Avenue, Blackrock that would reach up to nine storeys in height. The scheme by Lioncor subsidiary, 1 Players Land Ltd, is to comprise of 122 one-bed apartments, 100 two-bed apartments, 18 studios and four three-bed units in three blocks on lands beside Blackrock College. The scheme is to include facilities such as a café, a co-working area, meeting areas, a pet wash, a fitness area and a resident’s lounge.  The planning notice said the planning documents contained a statement outlining why planning permission should be granted despite the fact that the proposed scheme materially contravenes the local development plan. Lioncor last year paid out a reported €16 million for the Cross Avenue site in the face of competition from a number of other developers. The Irish Times, 23rd August

Student Accommodation, Limerick and Cork Developers have secured the go-ahead for 561 student bed spaces in two separate developments. In granting fast track planning in two separate cases on Monday, An Bord Pleanála has cleared the way for the construction by Cloncaragh Investments Ltd of 318 student bed spaces and 30 build-to-rent apartments containing an additional 104 bed spaces at Punches Cross in Limerick. The board has also given the go-ahead to plans to Bellmount Developments Ltd for 243 student bed spaces at Kelleher Auto Centre at Victoria Cross, Bishopstown outside Cork city. That development ranges from five to 10 storeys in height. The Limerick scheme – located 1.5 km to the west of the city centre – reaching to seven storeys in height – faced a higher level of opposition locally with one submission by Environmental Trust Ireland supported by 103 signatures in an accompanying petition. Objectors claimed that there are three other purpose-built student accommodation schemes in Limerick that are no longer used for such a purpose and expressed concern that the same would happen here. The inspector in the case, Daire McDevitt, concluded that there is a need for student accommodation in Limerick, noting a report submitted stating that there was an estimated shortfall of 2,169 bed spaces in Limerick in 2019. The Irish Times, 23rd August

Ardcairn House, Dublin 7 Two Labour party senators have accused Dublin City Council of allowing “backdoor” approvals of more tourist accommodation in Dublin’s inner city by allowing student accommodation providers to lease to tourists. Uninest gained permission for this temporarily ancillary use on foot of an application in which it cited the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting downturn in the numbers of students availing of accommodation, leading to low occupancy rates in its building. Rebecca Moynihan, Labour senator and party spokeswoman on housing, said housing developers need to know that inner city communities are not “investment opportunities” and that approvals such as this encourage capitalising on city centre property in this way. Moynihan said she has a bill before Séanad Éireann to address this practice of allowing developments to be temporarily re-classified, and that it must be made “a priority” when the Oireachtas returns in September. Marie Sherlock, a Labour senator, told the Business Post that allowing developers to put forward these ancillary applications sets a precedent for a “free-for-all” with Dublin city planning. In response to the criticisms of the Uninest approval, a spokeswoman for Dublin City Council told the Business Post that DCC is “fully aware of the frustrations of the public and their political representatives over the significant delays in resolving the housing crisis” but said it did not believe that proposals to ban temporary change of use of student accommodation sites would “resolve the housing problem in any meaningful way.” The Business Post, 19th August



Retail Development, Cork With the largest Munster retail letting of recent years just secured at Cork’s Mahon Point Shopping Centre, where the Fraser Group/Sports Direct is to take 75,000sq ft vacated in the past year by Debenhams, the focus is now on Cork’s troubled St Patrick’s Street and city core, as a pick-up in occupancy is predicted by next year. The news of the UK-based Fraser Group’s overall 150,000sq ft deals at Mahon Point and Whitewater Centre in Kildare, with landlords Deka via their agents Savills (with Cushman & Wakefield for the Fraser Group), is a welcome boost for retail jobs, indicating a faith in bricks-and-mortar sales as well as online activity. Meanwhile, also in the city centre, the Savoy Centre at one end is set for redevelopment for new model, post-pandemic retailing in a blend of online and physical store experiences while the Queens Old Castle at the other end of the city centre is to get a mixed development that will include offices. Among the names thought to be looking for a premise in Cork City are Asics; Inditex brands such as Pull & Bear and on-again, off-again Zara; and Liverpool FC, with the latter just going for a short-term let. Decathlon is also seeking a 30,000sq ft Cork presence, in the city or out of town. Savills’ expressed positive hopes for a city centre bounce-back by 2022, as the estate agency reports early international brand inquiries on the vacated four-storey 20,700 sq ft former Topshop unit 14 on Opera Lane. Although not officially confirmed, it’s likely rents on the large, multi-level Opera Lane unit are being pitched at about €475,000 a year, well down on the c€700,000 rent paid by Topshop. The Irish Examiner, 19th August

Douglas Relief Road, Cork Attempts by German-owned discount store Lidl to open a new supermarket in Douglas have hit a wall for the third time following Cork City Council’s decision to refuse planning permission. Lidl intends to appeal the refusal to An Bord Pleanála. In rejecting the proposal, the Council criticised the application for “poor quality of urban design, the limited nature of mixed uses proposed, the lack of streetscape presence onto key streets and the poor quality of the public realm”. Conor Nagle, Lidl regional director for Munster, said they were “surprised and disappointed with the refusal for this development in Douglas”. Mr. Nagle previously said that the proposed development would “turn an unused site into one that offers great services to the community”. Lidl has experienced a series of setbacks over the years in its efforts to establish a presence in Douglas. The discount store previously applied for permission to build on the two-acre Barry’s Field site, between Carrigaline Road and Churchyard Lane, in the heart of Douglas village. The land at the time fell under the remit of Cork County Council (pre-boundary extension) who granted permission in 2017, but An Bord Pleanála overturned it. A second application was lodged with the County Council in 2018, and again permission was granted, but it was again overturned by the planning board. The latest proposal was for a “landmark” development in Douglas to include a new store, a cafe, eight apartments and a commercial unit on a currently vacant site, which Lidl bought for an undisclosed sum, and which faces onto the roundabout on the Douglas Relief Road (R610). It adjoins the site of the new Aldi store (formerly Douglas Cinemaworld) which opened in June. The Irish Examiner, 18th August

Retail, Cork The planning regulator has issued a fresh warning to Cork County Council reiterating that a Kildare Village-style €100 million outlet centre should not be developed in the county. Last year Peter Burke, the Minister for Planning, told the local authority to remove any mention of an outlet centre from its draft development plan for 2022 to 2028. A new draft of the document was published in April 2021. It included a detailed section about how an outlet centre could be successfully integrated into the area and not impinge on core city and town retail centres. Cork County Council said it would undertake a detailed evidence-based assessment to “confirm the need for such developments” and “identify potential suitable locations”. Rioja Estates, the British developer, has expressed interest in developing the outlet centre near the IDA industrial estate at Killacloyne in Carrigtwohill. It has claimed the centre could create 850 jobs. Niall Cussen, the planning regulator, said that due to the need to address climate change through sustainable settlement and transportation strategies, the draft plan should fully reflect the provisions of the retail planning guidelines, which states “outlet centres should not be permitted in more remote out-of-town locations”. In his assessment of the draft plan, Cussen said the council should adhere to the direction issued by Burke in December 2020 that advised the council to remove any proposals for an outlet centre from the document. The Business Post, 22nd August


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