30th August (Issue 362)

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.



Spencer Place, Dublin Docklands Blackstone has completed the purchase of Saleforce’s new Dublin headquarters for over €500m in what is one of the biggest European office sales this year. On behalf of its core-plus perpetual capital vehicles, Blackstone has closed the acquisition of Spencer Place, a newly built 431,000 sq. ft. trophy office campus. The deal, understood to have a NIY of c. 4.25% attached to it, is the largest office deal to complete in Europe over the past few months, and comes as a welcome boost for the market. The campus consists of three grade-A office buildings fully leased to Salesforce for 15 years as their European headquarters and one hotel leased to Ireland’s largest hotel operator, Dalata Hotel Group. Spencer Place was sold by Fortress and Ronan Group Real Estate. React News, 24th August

Stripe, Dublin The tech giant Stripe has put its hunt for Irish offices on hold as the company weighs up its needs in a post-pandemic business environment. The payments technology company had put a requirement out to the market last year for up to 400,000 sq. ft. of office space, and said it was open to renting or buying. However, it is believed that in recent weeks CBRE, the agent acting for Stripe, has been informed that the search has been halted. Property sources believe that when the company returns to the market it will look to search for a smaller footprint of c. 200,000 sq. ft. It already has offices at No. 1 Lower Grand Canal Street in Dublin’s south docks. The Sunday Times, 28th August



Dublin Central Logistics Park, North Dublin Just over four months on from the €50m sale of the 118.40-acre Killamonan Business Park to Iput Real Estate, Bovale Developments is seeking a buyer for another of its large logistics landbanks next to Dublin’s M50 motorway. Extending across an area of 91.4 acres and zoned for employment use, Dublin Central Logistics Park is being offered to the market on behalf of Bovale and Nama by joint agents Savills and Cushman & Wakefield at a guide price of €34m (c. €361.3k per acre). The lands are predominantly in agricultural use at present and include a large two-storey vacant residence and four light industrial units on c. 2.40 acres accessed directly off the R122 Road. The Irish Times, 24th August



Fota Retail Business Park, Cork McGuirks Golf is preparing to open a flagship store at Fota Retail Business Park, outside Cork City. The 16,000 sq. ft. outlet will be the sports retailer’s 19th shop nationwide and brings to three the number opened by McGuirks this year alone. The retailer has taken a 10-year lease on Unit A1 at the Carrigtwohill Business Park. The new Carrigtwohill store will devote the ground floor (11,000 sq. ft.) to golfing equipment and will be the first McGuirks’ outlet to have two custom fitting bays (a process that matches clubs with golf swing). A ladies’ section will occupy a separate 2,500 sq. ft. mezzanine level, and a second mezzanine will be tennis specific. The Irish Examiner, 25th August

Rathmines, Dublin 6 The owners of the Swan Shopping Centre in Rathmines, Dublin 6, have applied for planning permission to build a new 111-bedroom hotel at the site. Sawbridge, which is run by the Anderson family, owns the centre as well as the Omniplex cinema chain and other property interests. It has lodged an application with Dublin City Council for the new hotel on Rathmines Road Lower and Castlewood Avenue, extending to Castlewood Terrace. The company said the new structure would increase the overall height of the building to five storeys in one part and six storeys in another. The Swan Centre has dozens of retail and restaurant units over two floors and more than 156,000 sq. ft. of space. Its primary retail frontage is to Lower Rathmines Road and there is also a substantial underground car park. The total area of the proposed development is 38,255 sq. ft. The Irish Times, 27th August

Retail Sector Outlook, Ireland The pandemic, followed by price inflation and interest rate rises, has significantly changed the Irish retail landscape over the past two years. The retail sector employs more than 300k people nationwide generating sales of over €30bn annually (c. 12% of Ireland’s GDP) and it delivers €7bn in tax revenue to the state. In the years before Covid-19, households saved c. €350m per month, but in the last two and a half years have saved nearly three times the amount, averaging €1bn per month. That said, consumers have been cautious and there has not been a spending boom post-pandemic as evidenced from retail sales figures, which were flat in the 12 months to the end of May 2022. Consumer sentiment, as measured by the KBC index, continued to weaken into Q2, a trend that began in February when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. While the Grafton Street area remains below pre-pandemic levels, the Henry Street area has witnessed significant gains and had 20% more footfall in mid-June 2022 compared to the same period of 2019. In spite of this, retail vacancy levels on the prime shopping streets remain high, with 16 unoccupied units on Grafton Street and 11 on Henry Street/Mary Street in Dublin. The Business Post, 26th August



City Arts Centre, Dublin City Centre Ventaway is seeking planning permission to develop Dublin’s tallest building on the site of the former City Arts Centre at City Quay. Should it be approved, the 24-storey structure would rise to 108m, making it just under 10m higher than the 30-storey (98.4m) residential tower Ruirside Developments intends to build on Parkgate Street. While the proposed City Arts Centre scheme is office-led with 243,124 sq. ft. of office space over 23 of its floors, the site’s history will be recognised with 15,113 sq. ft. of artist studios/workshops and exhibition/performance space distributed across the front of the building at its lower-ground, ground and first-floor levels. The application also provides for a 2,626 sq. ft. gym at ground-floor level along with 11 car-parking spaces and 424 bicycle spaces. React News, 25th August

Mahon, Cork Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has lodged an appeal against planning permission for a new 10-storey hotel outside Cork city. TII said the plans for the 165-bed hotel at Jacob’s Island in Mahon, alongside separate plans for c. 500 homes on an adjacent site, represent an “intensification of development which will create a further unacceptable impact on the operation, capacity and safety of the N40” ring road around Cork. Hibernia Star Ltd first applied to Cork City Council for permission for the hotel back in January. The development would also include a 114,442 sq. ft. office building over seven storeys. Separately, the same company lodged a Strategic Housing Development consultation late last year for 498 apartments in the same area. The case is due to be decided by An Bord Pleanála by 3rd January, 2023. The Irish Examiner, 26th August

Malahide Road, Dublin 17 Walls Construction has lodged fast-track plans with An Bord Pleanála to demolish its three-storey Rosemount House headquarters at Northern Cross, Malahide Road in Dublin 17. In its place, Walls Construction is seeking to build a €77m nine-storey mixed-use scheme comprised of 176 apartments. The proposed development consists of 72 one-bed apartment units, 57 two-bed apartments units and 47 three-bed units. The scheme would also include 11,302 sq. ft. of office accommodation on the ground floor, which would house a new headquarters for the building company. The scheme would feature a cafe unit and resident amenity and support services at ground-floor level. As part of its obligations to provide social housing under such plans, the company has put an indicative price tag of €15.84m on the sale of 36 apartments to Dublin City Council. This would include 28 one-bed units and eight two-bed units, with an indicative average price of €440.1k on each apartment. The Irish Times, 25th August



Social Housing, Ireland The government increased its social housing leasing target by c. 1,000 units due to warnings from the Department of Housing over the pressure the state was under in accommodating Ukrainian refugees, new documents show. In July, an extra €450m fund was launched by the state to lease 1,000 new-build homes for social housing. The move came despite the fact that Taoiseach Micheál Martin has committed to phasing out the practice of leasing homes from private developers for this purpose. The new social housing leasing tender document, issued in July by the Housing Agency, also asked property developers and investors to submit “a minimum of 20 properties and a maximum of 150 properties in any one proposal” for lease. The agency added that it was predominantly looking to lease new-build homes in Dublin but would review proposals outside the capital. The Business Post, 27th August

Help To Buy Scheme, Ireland The government must extend its €600m Help to Buy scheme for another three years to help both builders and first-time buyers with soaring costs, the country’s construction lobby group has said. The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) also warned that low levels of projected government spending on infrastructure projects under the €165bn National Development Plan do not “augur well for the pipeline of construction projects”. And it called for a lower rate of tax for small-scale landlords to address what it called their “exodus” from the housing market – a trend which it argued is “impacting the supply of affordable rented accommodation in many locations where there is an absence of the large scale ‘Build to Rent’ accommodation”. The Business Post, 25th August

Residential Property Market Sentiment, Ireland The rise in the cost of living is having a “major effect” on the home-buying, renovations and rental markets, according to the latest report from MyHome.ie. Demand is proving to be a critical factor that shows no sign of slowing, according to the report. In July, brochure views rose by more than 40% on MyHome.ie compared to the same month in the previous years. More than two-thirds of respondents said they had the finances in place to buy a home in the coming year. According to the report, 54% of those who are ready to buy property believe they will be able to do so in the next year. Sentiment among renters was described as particularly negative, with 63% reporting that the increase in costs had affected their ability to rent a property. The cost-of-living crunch has also slowed down home improvements, with 45% reporting that the spiralling costs have affected their ability to renovate or do other building works to their home. The Irish Independent, 29th August

Clonburris, Dublin 24 Cairn Homes has been granted planning permission to build 569 new homes in Clonburris, Dublin 24. The builds are part of the first phase of its new housing scheme as part of the Clonburris Strategic Development Zone. Cairn will commence construction and expects to deliver new homes in the first phase of its 5,500 mixed-tenure scheme in Clonburris by the middle of next year. This first phase of Clonburris will see the construction of the 569 new family homes, incorporating 173 houses, 148 duplexes and 248 apartments. The Government recently approved a multi-annual funding package of over €200m to assist the early delivery of the significant infrastructure needed to create the new town. Cairn said it will make a €40m investment in matched funding to this infrastructure cost in addition to increasing the delivery of social and affordable housing to 20%. The Irish Times, 29th August

Kilbarry, North Cork Plans by the Cork GAA County Board for a €75m, 319-unit housing scheme for Cork city are facing local opposition. Earlier this year the county board lodged fast-track plans with An Bord Pleanála for the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) scheme on a site it owns at Old Whitechurch Road, Kilbarry, on the northern fringes of Cork city. The profits it would earn from the €75m scheme were earmarked to pay down the Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium debt which stood at €29.74m at the end of last September. The scheme is made up of 85 semi-detached homes, 118 terraced units, 53 duplex units and 63 apartments. The Irish Times, 26th August

Mortgage Activity, Ireland The number and value of mortgages approved in July fell when compared with the previous month. Figures from the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) show a total of 5,255 mortgages were approved last month with first-time buyers accounting for 45% of this number. The total was down c. 12% on the previous month but was up 4.4% on the same period last year. In value terms, the mortgages approved in July were worth €1.4bn, down c. 13% on the previous month. Much of the activity in July was driven by non-purchase mortgage activity, which includes switching and top-ups. This category grew by 95.8% in volume terms YoY to 1,741, and by 147.6% YoY in value to €441m. The BPFI figures came as the rate of increase in property prices nationally slowed in May to 14.4%, extending a pattern of deceleration recorded in recent months. The Irish Times, 26th August

Blackrock, Cork Members of a support group for the Bessborough mother and baby home are “outraged” at plans to construct 420 apartments on the Bessborough estate in Cork. Earlier this year, Estuary View Enterprises (EVE) lodged combined Strategic Housing Development (SHD) plans with An Bord Pleanála to construct 420 apartments plus a cafe and creche on the site in Blackrock in Cork city. EVE is the largest landowner in the Bessborough estate, with its block spanning just over 40 acres. The combined new SHD schemes from EVE comprise seven blocks of varying height, with a mixture of buy-to-rent and buy-to sell units planned. The tallest block would be 10 storeys. The Irish Times, 25th August

Killarney, Co Kerry A large-scale housing development in Killarney town has been refused permission because of the potential impact on lesser horseshoe bats flying to their roosts in the nearby Killarney National Park. Artificial lighting including during the construction phase would disturb the bats that “commute” along the Deenagh river in the Killarney National Park alongside the proposal for 228 units, Kerry’s first Strategic Housing Development, according to An Bord Pleanála. The 15-acre infill site off the N71 Port Road, opposite the Killarney National Park, would have included houses, duplexes, town houses and 152 apartments in three and four storeys, a childcare facility, and a large green area along with roads. The application had the strong approval of the council planners, amid a shortage of housing supply in Killarney and its potential to facilitate pedestrians and cyclists. The Irish Times, 25th August

Finglas, Dublin 11 An Bord Pleanála has given permission for a contentious 314-unit build-to-rent apartment scheme at a former factory site at Jamestown Road in north Dublin. The appeals board approved the Jamestown Village Ltd plan despite local opposition and a recommendation by Dublin City Council to refuse planning permission. The scheme — originally 321 units comprised of 211 two-bed units and 110 one-bed units across five blocks rising to six storeys — is located 850m north of Finglas village. The appeals board ordered the omission of seven units from the initial 321 units proposed. The Irish Times, 24th August

Terenure, Dublin 6W Developers behind plans to construct a seven-storey, 364-unit build to rent apartment scheme on land at Terenure College are contesting the decision by Dublin City Council to refuse planning permission. A subsidiary of developer Lioncor has lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against the decision earlier this month to refuse planning. The Carmelite order — which runs Terenure College and owns a substantial land bank at the school — had stated that the development would help secure the future viability of the college. The plan by Lioncor — which also includes 21 houses — for the scheme at Fortfield Road, Terenure, comprises four apartment blocks rising to seven storeys that is made up of 15 studios, 166 one-bed apartments, 174 two-bed apartments and nine three-bed units. Some will be sold with the others rented. The Irish Times, 24th August

South Circular Road, Dublin 8 Fresh plans for the Bailey Gibson site on the South Circular Road in Dublin, which would mean the height of the proposed development is more than halved, will be presented to city councillors on Wednesday. US developer Hines has submitted a Strategic Housing Development (SHD) application to An Bord Pleanála for 345 homes in blocks ranging in height from two to seven storeys. In September 2020 the board granted Hines permission for 416 homes with a 16-storey apartment block on the same site. However, local residents took judicial review proceedings seeking to have the board’s decision quashed. The Irish Times, 24th August

If you have an article which you would like to have considered for inclusion in our next weekly report, please contact us at info@origincapital.ie

Origin Capital funds senior debt transactions in the CRE investment sector, typically in excess of €3m, and has lent over €200m to clients since April 2015.

Origin Capital is a wholly owned subsidiary of LeBruin, a leading provider of corporate finance solutions.

If you would like to discuss how Origin Capital can help with your funding requirements, please contact us on 01 662 9264.