28th November (Issue 425)

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.



Baldonnell Business Park, Dublin 22 Mountpark has sold the second phase of its Dublin logistics park to Spanish investment house Pontegadea for approx. €225m (NIY approx. 5%). Pontegadea, the company that invests on behalf of Spanish billionaire Amancio Ortega, has purchased 1.2m sq. ft of logistics space at Mountpark Baldonnell Business Park. The assets are considered to have significant reversionary potential, with Dublin’s logistics market still maturing and offering future rental growth. The deal represents a successful exit for Affinius Capital-backed Mountpark at Baldonnell, where it has developed over 1.4m sq. ft of grade A logistics space across two phases. React News, 27th November

Birr, Co Offaly Harvey is guiding a price of €3.5m for the former Milne Foods manufacturing facility in Birr. The property is alternatively available to let at an annual rent of €350k. Located in the Syngefield Industrial Estate and 1.5km from Birr town centre, the subject property briefly comprises a high-quality, fully fitted food production facility in walk-in condition and available for immediate occupation. Overall, the property comprises several buildings extending to a total area of 52,603 sq. ft on a 5.25-acre site. The subject property has a freehold title and is being offered for sale with full vacant possession. The Irish Times, 22nd November

Dundalk, Co Louth Irish developer and builder Tanola Ltd has pre-let Tanola Place, Dundalk’s newest industrial complex measuring 120,000 sq. ft to Anord Mardix to facilitate their expansion plans for their existing European headquarters in the town. Letting agent Sherry FitzGerald Carroll Dundalk confirmed the letting but did not comment on the records in the Property Price Register which show 20-year leases at average annual rents of €752.6k for Phase 1 and €542.6k for Phase 2. Those rents equate to approx. €10.50 per sq. ft for the 14-metre-high building. The Irish Independent, 23rd November

Macroom, Co Cork A developer is seeking permission for works at a warehouse in an IDA Industrial Estate in Macroom. Edgefield Property Investments Limited has submitted a planning application to Cork County Council for a proposed warehouse distribution unit, incorporating office accommodation and new site entrances. The works are to be located at the IDA Industrial Estate at Hartnett’s Cross. The Irish Examiner, 22nd November

Nexus Logistics Park, Dublin Iput has submitted plans to Fingal County Council for the proposed expansion of its Nexus Logistics Park. The proposals specify 12 logistics facilities to be built on a 118 acre site North-West of the Cherryhound-Tyrrelstown M2-M3 Link Road that will serve as phase two of Nexus. The units will range in size from 68,238 sq. ft to 457,359 sq. ft, for an overall footprint of 1.72m sq. ft. React News, 22nd November



Dún Laoghaire, South Co Dublin A Dún Laoghaire mixed-use investment with State-backed and educational tenants is being offered for sale with a €6m guide price and a NIY of approx. 6.5%. It comprises two full blocks and sections of two other blocks in Century Court at 100 Upper George’s Street, in Dun Laoghaire town centre. An Post, ABII (Acquired Brain Injury Ireland), St John of God, GEDU Holdings and St Nicholas Montessori pay a combined annual rent totalling €460k. The combined total floor area extends to 17,614 sq. ft. An Post occupies 2,745 sq. ft on the ground floor of Block A paying a total annual rent of €105k on a lease which runs until April 2027. ABII occupies 7,786 sq. ft on the first, second and third floors of the same block at a rent of €201.7k pa on a lease which runs until March 2034. In Block B GEDU Holdings, trading as English Path, occupies 2,143 sq. ft on the first, second and third floors at an annual rent of €40k on a lease which runs until October 2028. In Block C, St Nicholas Montessori occupies 3,606 sq. ft on the second and third floors at an annual rent of €75k on a 10-year lease which runs until June 2028. St John of God occupies 1,334 sq. ft on the second and third floors in Block D at an annual rent of €38.75k on a lease which runs until October 2027. The Irish Independent, 23th November

Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) A receiver has been appointed to five more of RGRE’s development properties, bringing the total number of its assets under receivership to 17. RGRE confirmed in a statement that Fortress Investment Group appointed a receiver over a portfolio of five assets. These include a site on Appian Way, a house on Fitzwilliam Square, as well as sites in Enniskerry, Delgany and near Carrickmines, which are earmarked for development. It is understood that PwC was appointed as receiver. This came after RGRE consented to receivers being appointed by BoI and AIB over 12 prized property assets, including the historic Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street, Connaught House on Burlington Road, Percy Place in Dublin 4, and Kingram House in Dublin 2. It is understood that the loans from AIB and BoI to which a receiver has been appointed amount to approx. €130m; when the Fortress debt in both portfolios is included, this rises to approx. €220m. RGRE said the properties affected by the receiverships sit in a group of special purpose vehicles that are financially insulated from the rest of the group. The Business Post, 25th November



Naas, Co Kildare A company associated with Hollybrook Homes, the UK-based builder, is planning a scheme of 941 student beds off Naas Road in Dublin. The firm is looking to build the development at Gowan House, a site previously owned by the Gowan motor group and put on the market for €7.5m in 2021. Malclose Ltd applied to Dublin City Council through the large-scale residential development process. If granted permission, the development would be built in two blocks of up to 15 storeys, containing a combined 871 standard rooms, 47 accessible studio rooms and 23 studios. They would be used for short-term lets during holiday periods. The Sunday Times, 26th November



Social Housing Schemes, Dublin US-headquartered investment giant Franklin Templeton has paid approx. €75m (approx. €480.7k per unit) to secure ownership of a portfolio of 156 apartments in Dublin. Developed by Kouchin Holdings, the units are distributed across five new social-housing schemes in Deansgrange, Dun Laoghaire, Donnybrook and Clondalkin. The Joinery is the largest of the five developments and comprises of 78 apartments over six floors along with two retail units extending to a total area of 6,500 sq. ft at ground-floor level. Franklin Templeton stands to secure a blended NIY of just under 3.45% on its investment with rent reviews every three years. The Irish Times, 22nd November

Dalkey, South Dublin Irish Life’s Irish Residential Property Fund has completed the purchase of 94 luxury apartments Winterbrook has developed at Dalkey in South Dublin. While the value of the off-market deal has not been disclosed, The Irish Times understands Irish Life has paid approx. €50m (approx. €521.2k per unit) to secure ownership of The Lookout on Harbour Road. The development comprises a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments distributed across two parallel blocks overlooking Dalkey Island. The Harbour Road scheme was developed on the grounds of Charleville, a large building occupying a 1.77-acre site which Winterbrook acquired for €5.5m in 2017. The Irish Times, 22nd November

Naas, Co Kildare Coonan Property has sold the Leinster Mills, perhaps better known as the former Odlums flour mills, at Oberstown in Naas. The property, which encompasses approx. 2.4 acres of land, was sold to a local businessman for an undisclosed sum. The site was previously for sale with another agent in 2020, when it was given a guide price of €2m. The buildings extend to more than 30,000 sq. ft and include a five-storey corn mill, a three-storey refurbished annex – which includes a refurbished mews in use as an office. The lands are zoned under the Naas Local Area Plan 2021-2027 as Objective F which is “to protect and provide for open space, amenity and recreation provision.” The Business Post, 25th November

Dublin Airport, Co Dublin Colliers is selling an investment site near Dublin Airport at a guide price of €2.75m. The site is situated approx. 400 metres from Dublin airport lands and totals an area of approx. 1.8 acres and is currently zoned GE – General Employment. The site further benefits from two tenancies. One of these is Emo Oil Limited, which occupies a portion of the site under a 10-year lease, which expires on March 31st, 2026 and is subject to a passing rent of €65k pa. The remainder of the land is leased to Value Van Rentals Limited under a 10-year lease expiring on December 31st, 2029 with a current passing rent of €86k pa, increasing to €92k pa on January 1st, 2024. The current combined passing rent is €151k, which is subject to an increase to €157k in 2024. The Business Post, 24th November

Peter McVerry Trust Darragh O’Brien, the minister for housing, is expected to seek cabinet approval for a €15m bailout of the Peter McVerry Trust, the housing and homeless charity, in the coming days. A memo is to be brought to cabinet next week seeking emergency funding for the organisation to allow it to continue providing services. It is understood that the organisation has given assurances to the Department of Housing and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) that improved budgetary and management process are being put in place. Under the proposal to go before ministers, the Department would provide a bailout of €15m with funding to be provided on a phased basis between December and March 2024. The Business Post, 24th November

The Peter McVerry Trust under-reported how much the homelessness charity spent on the running costs of property it owned by €1.3m, while overvaluing its assets by more than €3m, according to revised financial accounts. The trust has filed a revised set of accounts detailing several amendments to previously published figures. The revised accounts show the charity had overstated the size of its financial surplus over the last two years by €1.49m. The total value of properties owned by the charity had been overstated by €3.2m, with updated accounts revising the worth of property assets down from €165.5m to €162.3m. The new documents show the charity previously under-reported how much it had spent running its portfolio of more than 600 properties by €418k last year and €932k in 2021. The organisation took in €15m in donations last year, which included a €4.7m donation from the Capuchin Day Centre to be spent on social housing for homeless people. The trust received €43m in State funding, with nearly half that coming from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, which paid the charity €19.5m to run homeless services. The Irish Times, 28th November

Foxrock, South Co Dublin An Bord Pleanála has upheld a decision to reject planning permission for 99 apartments in blocks of up to six storeys in Foxrock, Dublin, saying the development would be “too tall”. The scheme was proposed by Macro Properties North West Limited. The proposal to build 99 apartments would have involved demolishing two homes located on the site to the south of Westminster Road, near Foxrock village. The development would have been in three apartment blocks, which would have ranged between three and six storeys tall. It also would have included 145 car-parking spaces, 216 bike-parking spaces and a gym and cinema located on the ground floor of one of the apartment blocks. The Irish Independent, 25th November

Gannon Homes Accounts New accounts for Gannon Homes Ltd show the company’s turnover was stable during 2022 at €55.9m. This is up slightly compared with the €55.2m recorded in 2021. However, the company managed to reduce its running costs from €48.2m to €45.6m. This helped the firm record an operating profit of €8.3m, up from €4.8m in 2021, and a full-year profit of €5.5m. In turn, this allowed Gannon Homes to reduce its liabilities, which dropped from €104.7m to €99.2m. The Irish Independent, 25th November

Ballincollig, Cork Colman New Homes (Blarney) Limited has unveiled plans seeking permission to develop approx. 162 residential units in Ballincollig. The company has applied for permission for the Large Scale Residential Development, which would be located off Maglin Road. The proposed development would consist of 84 two-storey dwellings including 26 four-bedroom semi-detached homes, 28 3-bed semi-detached dwellings, 20 3-bed terraced dwellings and 10 2-bed terraced dwellings. It also contains 56 duplex units provided in six two- to three- storey buildings comprising 23 two-bed units and 33 one-bed units, and one four- to five-storey apartment building consisting of 22 no. apartments. The Irish Examiner, 23rd November

Residential Development Pipeline, Cork Plans have been unveiled for a large residential development in East Cork. Castle Rock Homes (Midleton) Ltd has submitted a planning application for approx. 272 new homes at Broomfield West in Midleton. The plan, which also includes a creche, includes a range of site development works. There are plans from Ingram Homes Limited to build 400 homes in Water Rock, while Glenveagh Homes has proposed 125 homes in Maple Woods, Ballincurra, Midleton. Havenfalls Limited has also proposed 330 homes at Knockgriffin, and there is another plan from Glenveagh for 270 homes in Castleredmond. All these schemes are unrelated and are at various stages of the planning process. The Irish Examiner, 23rd November

Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Approx. two-thirds of households in receipt of the HAP last year were in employment of some kind, official figures show. This is a significant rise in the proportion of those in employment compared to the first year the scheme was introduced, with representatives in the sector saying it represents a recognition among those under financial pressure of their entitlements. Under the HAP scheme, tenants who qualify for social housing source their own private rental accommodation but have most of their rent paid directly to their landlord by their Local Authority. According to data from the CSO, there were a total of 68,180 households in receipt of HAP last year. Of those, 42,749 were in employment of some kind, representing 62.7%. By comparison in 2017, the first year in which it fully operated nationally, 42% of households were in employment. The median income for those on HAP has also increased to €19.3k last year, up from €14k in 2017. Figures from the Department of Housing show that last year a record €515.2m was paid to landlords by the State through the scheme. The Irish Times, 27th November

Mortgage Approvals First-time buyer mortgage approvals reached new highs in the year to the end of October despite a wider market slowdown, according to the latest figures from the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI). The total number of mortgages approved fell by 20.1% YoY, while the value dropped by 16.9%, with the trend driven mainly by lower switching levels, the industry body said. Meanwhile, the average value of a first-time buyer mortgage reached €295k in October this year, up €27k on October 2022, reflecting higher house prices. The Irish Times, 24th November

Housing Construction Commencements The construction of 2,624 homes commenced this October, which was 42.5% higher than the number of commencements in the same month last year, new figures from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage show. The strong uptick in commencement notices seen throughout this year continued last month, it said. The construction of 26,547 homes got underway in the first ten months of 2023. This represents a 16.6% increase on the same period last year, when the figure stood at 22,760. The Government estimated in its Housing For All plan, published in 2021, that 33,000 new homes would be required each year up to 2030. With two months remaining in 2023, commencement notices in respect of 6,453 homes will need to be received to achieve this target. The Irish Times, 23rd November

New Legislation Landlords selling a property will be obliged to first offer it to the tenant on the basis of an independent valuation under new legislation being proposed by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien. The draft Residential Tenancies (Right to Purchase) Bill will give tenants the right to first refusal if the landlord is selling. Under the rules, once a notice termination is served signalling the landlord’s intention to sell, the landlord must simultaneously invite their tenant to make a bid to purchase the property. The tenant will then have a period of 90 days to make one or more bids. After the 90-day period, the landlord will be obliged to invite a further bid from the tenant if the sales prices agreed with a third party on the open market “is lower than or equal to the tenant’s highest unsuccessful bid made during the initial 90-day period”. If the tenant is not in a position to buy and is at risk of being made homeless by the sale, the Bill allows for the relevant local authority (for tenants in receipt of social housing support) or the Housing Agency (for private tenants) buy the rented property “to continue renting it to the sitting tenant”. The Irish Times, 22nd November

Vacant Homes Just 3,000 homes across the State have been found liable for Vacant Homes Tax (VHT), a fraction of the 25,000 homes that were initially identified as potentially liable by Revenue. Introduced in the Finance Act 2022, the VHT was set at three times a property’s Local Property Tax (LPT) charge and applies to residential properties that have been lived in for less than 30 days in a year. After the first chargeable year of the tax, running from 1st November 2022 to 31st October 2023, the rate of VHT was increased to five times a property’s base LPT charge in Budget 2024, which applies to the current period running from 1st November 2023 to 31st October 2024. An update published by the Department of Finance has shown that as of 20th November, more than 50,000 properties have been reported through Revenue’s Vacant Home Tax portal. Approx. 5,000 properties were declared as vacant, while 45,000 were declared as occupied. Approx. 2,000 of these vacant properties have availed of a number of exemptions, this leaves a total of approx. 3,000 properties that are liable to pay the tax. The Irish Times, 21st November

An Bord Pleanála New evidence has come to light on the board breakdown at An Bord Pleanála in the fallout from the governance scandal at the body, delaying major housing projects. Internal files show how board decision-making on big housing and infrastructure cases came to a halt amid the turmoil. The backlog of planning cases is one of the biggest legacies of the affair, which prompted Government moves to overhaul An Bord Pleanála. The restructured institution will work under a new name, An Coimisiún Pleanála. Records point to a collapse in the processing of fast-track housing schemes by the board at that time, undermining efforts to tackle the worsening housing crisis. The board was supposed to be examining a large number of fast-track cases under Strategic Housing Development (SHD) laws because applications had surged before the legislation expired in early 2022. With An Bord Pleanála taking no SHD determinations for more than two months, the internal files show how a special board division was established for three weeks in a bid to revive decision-making. That move came alongside steps to expand the board, which now comprises 15 members, 11 more than at the height of the crisis. The Irish Times, 27th November

Planning System Overhaul Key stakeholders have broadly welcomed a new Bill designed to overhaul the Irish planning system, which they say will limit spurious objections, speed up processes, and address the infrastructure deficits facing the country. The Planning and Development Bill 2023, which runs to more than 700 pages, has been published in full by the Government, and is the result of a 15-month review by the Office of the Attorney General of the Planning and Development Bill 2000. Among the key aspects of the Bill is the introduction of new restrictions on parties that are eligible to seek judicial reviews of decisions by An Bord Pleanála. Applicants must have “a sufficient interest in the matter” and must be “directly or indirectly materially affected”. There is also closer scrutiny of complaints surrounding “significant effects on the environment”, as the Bill demands that organisations mounting challenges on these grounds must be in existence for a minimum of a year. New measures in the Bill will also involve a scheme which could curtail winning parties from facing excessive legal costs. The Bill will now be reviewed by the Oireachtas and is expected to be enacted next year. The Irish Times, 22nd November

Ballincollig, Cork The largest land deal of the year in the greater Cork area at €15m at Maglin, Ballincollig, will bring the total amount invested in development land around the city to approx. €50m by year’s end, approx. twice what was spent in 2022, which was put at €26m. The 2023 spend now approaching €50m is across 15 separate deals, and spanning 160 acres, putting average values for residential development land at €300k based on a €48m spend to date in 2023. The site was first brought to market in the latter half of 2021 when the guide price was €20m. In the event, the value was down by 25%, and it took two additional years to finally get over the line. Vendors in the €15m sale were a local business/farming family and the buyers included developers/builders Murnane & O’Shea. Separately, 2023 is coming to an end with approx. €100m worth of land in the metropolitan Cork area still on offer, most of it off-market, and including at the Ford/docks site for €30m for Glenveagh; approx. €22m at Ballyvolane; approx. €15m at Fernhill, Carrigaline; at the city’s Good Shepherd Convent close to the LDA’s site at St Kevin’s; and at Waterfall, the Grafton Group’s site, with 16 acres on offer for approx. €6m. The Irish Examiner, 23rd November



Coom Green Energy Park, Co Cork An Bord Pleanála has given the green light for a massive wind farm in County Cork, called Coom Green Energy Park. ESB Ireland, Coillte and Ørsted received planning permission for their 121 MW project which will consist of up to 22 wind turbines. According to Ørsted, the wind farm will be able to power up to 80,000 homes and displace 150k tonnes of carbon emissions. Ørsted holds 50% of the project while the other 50% are held by ESB Ireland’s and Collite’s joint venture FuturEnergy Ireland. With the permission granted the companies now have 10 years to finalise the project, however according to Ørsted, the park could already be operational in 2027. The Business Post, 22nd November

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