30th May (Issue 399)

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.



Talbot Street, Dublin 1 Irish Water has initiated a search for new offices to replace its headquarters in Dublin city centre. In a request for information, which it issued last week, Uisce Éireann – as it is officially known – asked commercial real estate advisers and interested parties to provide it with options in the 65,000-80,000 sq. ft range. The proposed office sizes suggest that the State agency is looking to accommodate 600-800 workers at its new premises. Irish Water’s lease on its existing 55,000 sq. ft office at Colville House on Talbot Street is due to expire in February 2026. While the agency initially occupied the property under the terms of a lease assignment from Bank of Ireland in 2013, it went on to sign a 10-year lease in its own right once the bank exercised the break option on its original agreement in 2016. The Irish Times, 24th May

Abbey Street Lower, Dublin 1 Apex Fund Services has agreed to lease an additional 11,000 sq. ft at its existing Dublin headquarters in Block 5 at the Irish Life Centre. Having already occupied approx. 15,000 sq. ft of office space on the second floor of the building since 2018, the company will now take on part of the third floor by way of lease assignment on a 15-year lease from 2018 with the benefit of break options at a passing rent of €45 per sq. ft. The assigner is the Austrian lender BAWAG Group who acquired German-owned Depfa Bank in 2021 and has since managed an orderly wind down of their operations in Ireland. The Irish Times, 24th May



St Stephens Green, Dublin 2 A plan by Oakmount to build a new high-end hotel at St Stephen’s Green looks set to be scaled back significantly after the developer pulled back from acquiring three properties included as part of its original plan. According to market sources, Oakmount has withdrawn from the purchase of the home of the former Hibernian United Services Club at 8 St Stephen’s Green, as well as two other transactions involving two adjacent buildings. Oakmount had been progressing individual deals for 4, 5 and 8 St Stephen’s Green with a view to assembling a large site for a hotel to be operated as part of their Press Up Hospitality Group. Oakmount already owns UK fashion retailer Topshop’s former flagship premises at 6-7 St Stephen’s Green, having paid more than €17m to acquire the property last year. The Irish Times, 23rd May

Henry Street, Dublin 1 Fitzwilliam Real Estate, owned by Noel Smyth, has been granted planning permission to develop a nine-storey hotel on Henry Street in Dublin 1. The 245-bedroom hotel will be built over Arnotts department store, comprising a two-storey element set back over the store and a three-storey portion above its multi-level car park. The top three open-air levels of the Arnotts car park will be demolished to make way for part of the new hotel, necessitating the removal of 145 car spaces. According to the planning documents, the developer owns the Arnotts store’s “air rights”, allowing the company to submit an application for the air space above the store property. An agreement has been reached with Munich-based Ruby Hotels to operate the hotel. React News, 24th May



Oak Road Business Park, Dublin 12 CBRE has launched a modern, end-of-terrace business unit just off the Naas Road in Dublin for sale by private treaty. The property, Unit 22 in the Oak Road Business Park in Dublin 12, extends to 5,769 sq. ft and includes well-presented, two-storey office accommodation which extends to approx. 1,840 sq. ft. The Business Post, 26th May



Inchicore, Dublin 8 French investor Iroko Zen has completed its third acquisition this year and seventh deal to date in the Irish investment market, paying €1.425m for the premises of Tesco Express on Tyrconnell Road in Inchicore, Dublin 8. The property comprises of two adjoining ground-floor retail units, extending to 4,850 sq. ft. The accommodation is laid out primarily for supermarket use along with staff facilities and a storage area. The subject property is let to Tesco on a 20-year and five-months term from October 30th, 2007, expiring on March 31st, 2028. The lease incorporates CPI-linked rent reviews with cap and collar of 3% and 1% respectively. The passing rent is €98k annually. The Irish Times, 24th May

St Patrick’s Street, Cork A consortium of private investors has acquired Debenhams’ former premises in Cork city. According to market sources, the consortium has paid approx. €12m for the landmark property at 12-17 St Patrick’s Street. The building had been seeking €20m when it was first put on the market by agent Cushman & Wakefield along with Debenhams’ former premises on Henry Street in Dublin in August of last year. While the Henry Street property is set to become the Dublin flagship store for its new owners, Sports Direct, the future of the Cork building remains unclear at this point. And while it is possible that Intersport Elverys will occupy a portion of the property, market sources say they expect the remainder of its space to be offered to other prospective occupiers or to undergo redevelopment. The building extends to approx. 152,998 sq. ft and operated as Roches Stores for almost a century before the Roche family leased it to Debenhams in 2006. The Irish Times, 23rd May

Harcourt Portfolio Davy Real Estate is nearing a deal to buy the Harcourt Developments shopping centre portfolio for €75m, and finally end a protracted sales process. The property fund manager has entered into exclusive talks to buy the portfolio of six malls — becoming the third party do so in the past year — and is at an advanced stage of negotiations. Lugus Capital, a Cork investment group, and the Canadian-Irish vehicle Camgill Conway both entered periods of exclusivity but failed to complete a deal due to adverse conditions in the debt funding market. The portfolio includes the shopping centres Laois in Portlaoise; Donaghmede in Dublin; Galway; Letterkenny in Co Donegal; the Parkway in Limerick; and Longwalk in Dundalk. The Sunday Times, 28th May

South Main Street, Cork Available to lease with Lisney Cork, is the ground floor at No. 4/5, previously occupied by Japanese noodle bar Wagamama, until 2017, and more recently by Chinese restaurant Rice, which considerably refitted the interior. It’s to let on a new lease of €67k pa, and seats 120. The Irish Examiner, 25th May

St Patrick’s Street, Cork Mango, the Spanish fashion retail giant, is set to begin work at the end of May on the Savoy-adjoining premises on St Patrick’s Street, and the store is scheduled to open after the summer, with 10 jobs created. The premises has been vacant since Quills shut up shop in 2014. It was bought the following year for €2m by Clarendon Properties, owners of the Savoy. Mango has taken a 10-year lease on the property, with a five-year breakout clause, which includes a penalty for early exit. The Irish Examiner, 25th May



Churchtown Business Park, South Dublin Self-storage provider Nesta has secured its sixth premises in the capital following a deal with pan-European investor M7 Real Estate for Unit 21 at Churchtown Business Park in south Dublin. Nesta, which is Irish-owned and family-run, is understood to have entered into a long-term lease on the 8,135 sq. ft unit at a rent of €13 per sq. ft. The Irish Times, 24th May



Kilcullen, Co Kildare Savills is guiding a price of €5.25m for a 10.25-acre residential development site in Kilcullen, Co Kildare. The subject site represents phase three of the newly developed Riverside Manor estate and comes for sale with full planning permission for the construction of 116 homes (approx. €45k per unit) and a creche. The approved scheme provides for 17 apartments consisting of three one-beds and 14 two-beds, 50 duplexes consisting of 13 one-beds, 12 two-beds and 25 three-beds, and 49 three and four-bedroom houses. Riverside Manor is located approx. 500m from The Square at Kilcullen Bridge. The Irish Times, 24th May

Ennis, Co Clare Savills and Costelloe Estate Agents have brought to the market a 14.2-acre land holding in Ennis, Co Clare. Located on Clare Road and just 1.2km from Ennis town centre, the subject site is zoned for mixed-use development under the Clare County Development Plan 2023-2029. According to the terms of the plan, mixed-use proposals may include bulky retail goods, making provision, where appropriate, for primary and secondary uses such as commercial/retail development as the primary use with residential development as a secondary use. While a guide price has not been set for the subject property, the combination of its location and potential use is expected by market sources to see offers of approx. €4m (average of €282k per acre). The Irish Times, 24th May

Castlebellingham, Co Louth Developers involved in the delivery of housing in Dublin’s commuter-belt counties will be interested in the opportunity presented by the sale of 5.77-acre land holding on the outskirts of Castlebellingham, Co Louth. The subject property, which comes with two separate planning permissions in place for the delivery of 50 or 72 residential units, respectively, is being offered to the market by agent CBRE at a guide price of €2.25m (approx. €31k-€45k per unit). The original grant of planning comprises 50 residential units, encompassing a mix of terraced, semidetached, and detached two-, three- and four-bedroom houses ranging in size from 931 sq. ft to 1,480 sq. ft. Subsequently, a further grant of planning was permitted on the lands that allows for the replacement of 18 two-storey semi-detached and terraced houses with 40 two- and three-bedroom duplexes ranging in size from 793 sq. ft to 1,480 sq. ft. The Irish Times, 24th May

Poolbeg, Dublin 4 A Johnny Ronan-led consortium is close to finalising a deal with the Department of Housing to allow the first phase of the Irish Glass Bottle site development to proceed following months of negotiations. The consortium was granted planning permission more than a year ago for the first 570 units planned within the Poolbeg Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), which requires 25% of homes be provided for social and affordable housing, significantly more than the typical 10% requirement. Under the current proposal, the department and Dublin City Council has asked that 15 one-bed units in the first phase of the development be sold to the council for use as social and affordable cost-rental homes at a fixed price of no more than €420k. A further 10 one-bed units would be made available by the developer for the local authority affordable purchase scheme at a purchase price of €270k per unit for prospective homebuyers, allowing the consortium to avail of a €150k government subsidy for each unit, bringing the total all-in costs for these units to no more than €420k. For any units under the affordable purchase scheme that remain unsold for more than a year, the department and council has asked that these units could either be sold on the open market or be purchased by the council for cost-rental or social housing for €420k in order to meet the terms of the SDZ to deliver affordable housing at the site. The Business Post, 27th May

Donabate, North Dublin A community group is asking the High Court to quash planning permission for the construction of 432 homes in Donabate, north Dublin. The Donabate Portrane Community Council’s case against An Bord Pleanála, Fingal County Council, Ireland and the Attorney General, concerns permission for 213 houses, 93 apartments and 126 duplexes at Ballymastone in Donabate. Fingal County Council had approved the large-scale residential scheme proposed by developer Glenveagh Living Limited (a notice party in the court action), and the board upheld this on appeal from the community council. This week Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys gave permission for the community council to pursue judicial review of the board’s approval. The Irish Times, 25th May

Canal Bank, Limerick Planning permission for seven high-rise blocks of apartments, houses, a cafe, creche and retail units in a suburb of Limerick city have been rejected for a second time by An Bord Pleanála. Revington Developments, of Wellington Place, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, applied to the planning board for 10-year permission for a “strategic housing development” at Canal Bank, Pa Healy Road, Corbally. The 442-residential unit development was to consist of 363 build-to-rent apartments and 61 student apartments, rising between five and 10 storeys high, as well as 18 detached four-bed and terraced four-bed houses including parking spaces. The Irish Times, 24th May

Dundrum, South Dublin The Land Development Agency (LDA) has received planning permission for 852 affordable and social homes on the grounds of the former Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, south Dublin. The approval granted to the LDA by An Bord Pleanála (ABP) marks a big step forward for one of the agency’s most prominent projects – but at a scale lower than it wanted. The LDA had sought approval for 977 homes from ABP under fast-track planning laws, since scrapped. The agency recently told the Oireachtas housing committee that the risk of a court challenge to the development was “considered high”. The proposed housing includes family homes, starter homes and housing suitable for older residents. The Irish Times, 29th May

Mount Merrion, South Dublin Marlet Property Group has sold the apartment complex section of its Oatlands Manor residential development in Mount Merrion in south Dublin to a German real estate investment fund for an undisclosed sum. German investor, Real IS, announced it had acquired the units at 1 Cherrygarth, for the open-ended retail real estate fund Realinvest Europa. The parties have agreed not to disclose the price of the transaction. The development incorporates a mix of four and five-bedroom, three-storey houses, which were launched to the open market for sale late last year with prices starting at €1.275m. The development’s apartment section includes 30 apartments and 18 duplex apartments along with 82 car parking spaces, 47 in the basement and 35 outside the property. The Business Post, 30th April



Property Portfolio The value of the Comer brothers’ property portfolio grew by €50m in 2022, with the pair now controlling more than €1.16bn-worth of property in Ireland. In 2017, land and properties owned by the Comers through these holding companies was worth €540.3m. The total value of the portfolio increased to €1.11bn by 2021. One notable asset in the collection is the Sentinel, a part-built shell of a tower in Sandyford, Co Dublin. It has nearly doubled in value to €4.5m since 2017. The Comers acquired the property in 2011 for a reported €850k. The Corrib Great Southern Hotel site was another piece of land added to the group’s portfolio during the downturn. In 2013, the site was acquired by the Comer Group for a reported price of €3.5m. Accounts for Trigo Property Company Limited, the Comer’s firm that owns the site, show it is valued at €7m. Nijinsky Property Company Limited, the Comer Group subsidiary linked to the Kilternan development it purchased in 2014, states in filings that the property is now worth €48.7m. The Business Post, 28th May

Dublin Airport Property owners are selling a large Dublin Airport landbank covering 260 acres in the centre of the airport grounds. The decision presents a strategic and financial challenge to the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA). The State body now faces questions as to whether it spends potentially many millions of euro to block any other party from gaining control of real estate crucial to its long-term growth. The sale comes amid concern the airport will soon reach capacity as travel recovers after pandemic disruption, although senior airport figures believe a new terminal won’t be needed for 20 years. A car park site near the airport but not within the campus itself is reputed to have realised approx. €1.6m per acre when the DAA recently acquired it for €70m. The deal is under review by competition regulators. The Irish Times, 30th May


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