30th March (Issue 290)

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.




Sir John Rogerson Quay, Dublin 2 Developer TIO is understood to have secured upwards of €95 million from the sale of a newly-completed prime office building in Dublin’s south docklands to the German family-office investor AM Alpha. The sale of 76 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay comes just four months after Rabobank agreed to take 23,500 sq ft of space at the scheme on a 10-year lease with an option to renew for a further 10 years. The Dutch-headquartered lender is understood to have agreed to pay a rent of about €57 per sq. ft. AM Alpha made its last acquisition in the Irish market in November 2019, when it paid €50 million to secure ownership of Northside Shopping Centre. The Irish Times, 24th March

Bonham Quay, Galway US software company Diligent’s plan to establish a European hub in Galway has moved up a gear with the selection of Bonham Quay as the location for its new offices. The company is expected to move its Irish-based workforce into Bonham Quay by early 2022. Diligent’s new office forms part of the wider 370,000 sq ft Bonham Quay campus being constructed by developer Gerry Barrett’s Edward Capital. Upon completion, the scheme will comprise 349,000sq ft of offices distributed across four buildings, 21,000 sq ft of retail/restaurant space and 91,435 sq ft of new landscaped public space. The letting of the overall development is being managed by the Galway offices of Cushman & Wakefield. The Irish Times, 24th March

Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 It was reported in the Irish Times that the Killeen Group is to press ahead with the delivery of a new office scheme next to Facebook’s new Dublin 4 campus and directly opposite the RDS on the Merrion Road. Designed by Reddy Architects, the six-storey over double-basement Glencar House will comprise 77,500 sq ft upon completion in 2023. The Merrion Road site has been occupied since 1991 by a pavilion-style building as part of the overall Sweepstakes Centre scheme. In recent years, the property has been occupied by a range of corporate tenants including Nuance Communications and BNP Paribas Real Estate. Walls have been appointed as the main building contractor, while Mitchell McDermott have been retained as the project managers. Cushman & Wakefield and BNP Paribas Real Estate have been engaged as joint letting agents for the property. The Irish Times, 24th March



Grafton St, Dublin 2 Foot Locker has won the first round in a battle over rent with the landlord of its Grafton Street store. In a request for discovery, it was ruled that the sportswear and footwear retailer does not have to provide documents about all seven of its Irish stores to Percy Nominees. Foot Locker has been in dispute with Percy, the investment company associated with Davy Stockbrokers, over liability to pay instalments on its €750,000 annual rent after it had to close because of Covid. The retailer claims that the lease it holds on the Grafton Street store “has been frustrated” by the restrictions brought about by the pandemic. It says that government restrictions led to “an unprecedented and dramatic collapse in the pre-existing level of footfall in Grafton Street” and has sought a declaration that it has “no liability for rent” for when it was closed. Percy had requested to see all correspondence between Foot Locker and its other landlords in the run-up to the closures in March last year. It argued that the documents would show whether Foot Locker had “conducted itself in a uniform manner in respect of all leases”. Sunday Times, 28th March

Penney’s, Cork After a year of retail devastation, Cork City centre is set for a significant boost following confirmation that Penney’s is planning a major expansion of its St Patrick St store. The fast fashion retailer has confirmed to the Irish Examiner that, pending a successful planning outcome, it intends to increase its retail space by almost 50%, adding 17,000 sq ft to its existing 37,000 sq ft. The store will not close during the expansion, which will take place on a phased basis. A spokesperson for Penneys said: “We have embarked on the planning process to redevelop our Patrick Street store. If our application is successful, we will increase the retail space by 17,000 sq ft to 54,000 sq ft, which will bring an enhanced shopping experience to our customers. We will plan a phased building schedule to allow the store to remain open during construction. We have partnered with the O’Flynn Group to support on the planning and development process”. The Irish Examiner, 24th March



Camden Quay, Cork Plans for a 194-bedroom hotel on a prime Cork city centre site have been unveiled. A planning application has been lodged with Cork City Council by Carra Shore Hotel (Camden Place) Limited for the former McKenzies Circuit Courthouse site on the bank of the River Lee. Located directly opposite Cork Opera House on Camden Place and Pine Street, the development proposal includes the redevelopment, renovation and conservation of the building to allow for the development of a city centre hotel. This would include 194 bedrooms, 41 of which would be long-stay suites, and the construction of a rear annex, ranging in height from two to six storeys. The building was purchased for €3.5m late last year by the UK/Irish group headed by John Kajani, associated with companies Carra Shore and the Seraphine Group, who owns hotels in London, Dublin and Waterford. The Irish Examiner, 25th March

Hotel Conversions With increasing demand for Irish nursing home investment opportunities and some Irish hotels expected to come under pressure because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism sector, two recent deals illustrate the conversion potential of hotels. Maureen Bayley of CBRE said that one of the big advantages that many hotels offer for nursing home conversion is the size of their bedrooms, which at 12.5 square metres comply with standards being imposed by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa). Hotels also offer en suite bathrooms, which are a major requirement for infection control. It was confirmed in the media last week that the HSE have bought the Blarney Hotel in Cork to use it as a care home for the elderly. Among other hotels to be converted by other operators are the Ardmore Lodge Hotel in Dublin, which was converted to Care Choice Finglas, and the former 123-bedroom Two Mile Inn motel on the Ennis Road near Limerick city. The Business Post, 28th March



Ashtown, Dublin 15 The German investor Union Investment has paid over €200 million to acquire 435 apartments (>€460k per apartment) and a health centre being developed by Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Group at Royal Canal Park in Ashtown, Dublin 15. The agreement of the forward-funding deal for the 8th Lock portfolio will be seen as a significant vote of confidence by international investors in the capital’s PRS market. Notably, the transaction is Union’s first investment in the Irish residential market, and one of its first residential deals in Europe. The German-headquartered fund manager’s purchase of the apartments at Royal Canal Park brings the overall value of its real estate holdings in Ireland to €770 million. The remainder of Union’s Irish portfolio is comprised of six prime Dublin office assets boasting a combined value of €570 million, which it acquired between 2015 and January 2020. The Irish Times, 24th March

Rathgar, Dublin 6 The former Murphy & Gunn Hyundai dealership in Rathgar has been put up for sale. Located at the corner of Kenilworth Square South and Rathgar Avenue, it occupies a site of 0.9 acres and is being offered to the market by agent Knight Frank at a guide price of €8.5 million. The sale of the property comes just over three months on from Rohan Holdings’ €7 million purchase of Murphy & Gunn’s former BMW car showroom site in nearby Milltown. The Rathgar site is zoned objective Z2 Residential Neighbourhoods (conservation area within the current Dublin City Council Development Plan) and enjoys significant frontage to Rathgar Avenue and Kenilworth Square South. It is is ideally positioned witin a 0.5km walk of Rathgar Village while Rathmines Village is within 1km. A feasibility study prepared by Ferreira Architects suggests it could accommodate a scheme of 90 apartments (€94k per site), subject to planning permission. Knight Frank Press Release

Sutton, Co. Dublin A site with potential for a prime residential development has gone up for sale in Sutton with a guide price of €1.525m. Located on Carrickbrack Road in Sutton, “Fairways” comes with full planning approval for the demolition of the existing house and its replacement with three substantial detached homes (€508k per site). The new properties comprise two five-bedroom dormer bungalows (265 sq m/2,852 sq ft) and one four-bedroom dormer bungalow (206 sq m/2,217 sq ft). The precise details of the planning permission may be viewed on the Fingal County Council website under planning reference F19A/0442. The subject site extends to 0.34 hectares (0.84 acres) and contains mature trees, a number of which will be retained in the new development to provide an attractive blend of old and new in the planned landscaping. The Irish Times, 24th March

Donnybrook, Dublin 4 An Bord Pleanála has consented to a High Court order quashing its permission for 614 residential units on former RTÉ lands. Three Ailesbury Road residents had brought proceedings challenging the board’s fast-track permission for the proposed development by Cairn Homes close to their homes. They also challenged the constitutionality of strategic housing provisions of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 providing for the fast-tracking of large housing developments. Their case was against the board, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Ireland and the Attorney General with Dublin City Council and Cairn Homes as notice parties. The proposed development comprises 611 apartments in nine blocks up to 10 storeys high, three townhouses, two cafes, one childcare facility, and change of use of an existing Regency villa to a private members club and gym. The applicants said the development is of a scale and density far in excess of what is permitted under the Dublin City Development Plan, would overlook and overshadow their homes and be “totally out of keeping” with an area consisting of low rise Victorian or Edwardian type houses. The Irish Examiner, 25th March

UCD Dublin University College Dublin (UCD) has announced it will build more than 900 new rooms for students before next September – but the plans are subject to the reopening of construction sites in the coming weeks. Phase One of the 3,000-bed development – that includes a village centre for the students – was due for completion last year but was delayed due to the closing of the construction sector. The current number of resident spaces on campus is 3,168 and will rise to 4,092 when the 924 beds open. UCD also expects to start construction of a further 1,254 beds once the Government allows construction to open up, giving a total of 5,346 beds. A further project to deliver another 700 beds is in the pipeline. Irish Independent, 28th March

Goatstown Dublin 14 Two Government Ministers are supporting locals’ objections to plans for a 698-bed student accommodation development across eight blocks in Goatstown in south Dublin. Minister for Tourism and Culture Catherine Martin and Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan have each made submissions to An Bord Pleanála concerning the plan where the blocks range in height from three to seven storeys. The plan has been lodged by Colbeam Ltd, an Irish arm of Michael Cox’s UK-based building company Hollybrook Homes, for a site located at Our Lady’s Grove, Goatstown, 850m from UCD. A previous fast-track plan for the site for 132 apartments was granted planning permission by the board but the permission was quashed by the High Court following judicial review proceedings by a local resident. In total, the appeals board has received 67 submissions, mainly from local residents, concerning the planned scheme. Irish Times 30th March



Clonee, Meath Bannon’s have launched a site in Clonee for sale which has potential for a 400,000 sq. ft. logistics facility with a guide price of €10m. Located next to junction 4, less than five-minutes’ drive from the M50 and 15km from Dublin city centre, the M3 Gateway site is fully serviced and offers the potential for a logistics/distribution or data-centre development of about 400,000 sq ft (subject to planning permission.) The land adjoining the site has in recent years been transformed by the development of two hyper-scale data centres by Facebook. Further data centres are situated nearby in Blanchardstown and Mulhuddart where Amazon Web Services is progressing a 223,000 sq ft facility. The area has also proven to be popular among pharmaceutical and logistics companies, with MSD, Astellas, Helsinn Birex, Geodis and Masterlink all situated nearby. The property is being offered for sale by tender on Thursday, May 6th. The Irish Times, 24th March

Dundalk, Louth Harvey is guiding a price of €2.125 million for a significant land holding on the outskirts of Dundalk, Co Louth. Extending to 9 hectares (22.27 acres) and zoned “employment mixed use” under the current Dundalk and Environs Development Plan 2009-2015, the land enjoys an excellent location just 2.5km east of the M1 motorway at junction 16. The property is surrounded by the operations of a number of major multinational employers including Paypal, Xerox Europe, WuXi Biologics and the Wasdell Group. The required road infrastructure is already in place and services are available to the edge of the site. While 2.1 hectares (5.28 acres) of the site is taken up by roadways and an attenuation pond, the vast majority of the land (6.8 hectares/17 acres) is suitable for development. The subject site is being offered to the market with an asking price of €2.125 million with no VAT applicable to the sale. The Irish Times, 24th March



Exchequer Street, Dublin 2 A high-profile, mixed-use investment in Dublin city centre is coming to the market through joint agents Hooke & MacDonald & Agar Commercial Property Consultants. No 16-18 Exchequer Street is located opposite Fallon & Byrne food store, close to South Great George’s Street and some 200 metres west of Grafton Street. The investment comprises two mid-terrace, four-storey over basement mixed-use period properties extending to about 4,893 sq ft. The properties comprise two ground and basement retail/restaurant units extending to some 3,013 sq ft. Overhead on the first, second and third floors are six luxury apartments, three within each property, with two separate self-contained entrances from street level. The two-ground floor commercial units currently produce a combined income of €130,000 per annum (€65,000 per annum per unit). The six apartments overhead are in walk-in, lettable condition. The agents anticipate the ERV of the residential element to be in the region of €140,000 per annum. The Business Post, 28th March

East Wall, Dublin 3 Dublin City Council has approved plans to construct a 195-bedroom hotel and 88 build-to-rent apartments in East Wall. The proposal, put forward by private developers MKN Property Group, will see two existing motor showroom outlets demolished and a mixed-use scheme, developed in three blocks, built in its place. The three blocks at East Wall Road, located a little over 500 metres from Facebook’s 800-worker-capacity office, will consist of a mix of hotel, residential, retail and commercial developments. MKN, headed up by real estate developer Sean McKeon, plans to build a 15-storey hotel comprising 195 bedrooms, conference facilities and a restaurant, bar and lounge in the development’s first block. The second block will consist of six office units over three floors and 28 build-to-rent apartments, 16 of which will be one-bed units, with the remaining 12 set to be two-bed units. It will also include a games room, residents’ lounge and “multi-purpose” facility for residents indicated for use for “yoga or other activities”. A further 60 build-to-rent one-bed and two-bed apartments will be constructed in a ten-storey block, and the site will also include an “urban plaza” at ground level. The Business Post, 23rd March

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.