5th March (Issue 437)

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.



Temple Bar, Dublin 2 Tifco is preparing to sell the Hard Rock hotel in Dublin after the hotel group put plans on ice to sell its entire €400m portfolio. The Hard Rock, which opened in 2020, is located in Temple Bar at the corner of Parliament Street. It has 120 bedrooms, the Zampas restaurant and a Rock Shop attached. The property was developed with a €35m loan from AIB. Tifco owns or operates 25 hotels around Ireland including 11 Travelodges and the Crown Plaza at Dublin airport, the Holiday Inn Express at Dublin airport, Hotel Killarney and the Clontarf Castle hotel. It is thought to be Ireland’s second-largest hotel chain. The Sunday Times, 3rd March

Howth, Co Dublin Conor McGregor-owned Waterside Bar in Howth has sought permission to build a hotel on top of the pub, according to a site notice. According to the notice, the Waterside, which is a four-storey building on one side and two-storey on the other side, would be demolished. In its place there would be a part five-storey and part-four storey terraced building extending its space from 14,262 sq. ft to 23,691 sq. ft. A pub would remain on the ground floor with a restaurant on the first floor. On the second, third and fourth floors there would be boutique hotel bedrooms and a residents terrace area with access from the street behind Church street. Permission was sought by G Boppers Limited. The Business Post, 4th March


North Dock, Dublin 1 An office block in Dublin let entirely to WeWork that was purchased for close to €105m has lapsed into receivership. Deloitte has been mandated as receivers to 2 Dublin Landings, a 100,000 sq. ft office block fully let to WeWork. The site’s South Korean owner, JR AMC, defaulted on a loan of approx. €60m advanced by German bank Helaba. Helaba has also appointed receivers on the Beckett Building in Dublin, which is leased to Meta. The owner of the building, KB Securities, had attempted to sell the property for €75m earlier in the year. The owners of 2 Dublin Landings had previously considered selling the asset in 2022. At the time, it carried a €120m asking price. The building was bought by KanAm Grund, on behalf of Hana Financial Investment and JR AMC for close to €105m in 2018. Attempts were made to refinance 2 Dublin Landings, which has been let to WeWork since 2018, in the third quarter of 2023. It is understood that the refinancing was progressing well until WeWork filed for insolvency, sources said. React News, 28th February

St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 Cushman & Wakefield is guiding a rent of €62.50 per sq. ft and €4.5k per car parking space pa for the third-floor offices at No. 75 St Stephen’s Green in Dublin’s City Centre. Extensively refurbished in 2018, the accommodation is third-generation plug-and-play and is being made available to let by way of assignment from July 2024 to April 2032. The offices have become available following the decision of their existing tenant, US-headquartered investor KKR, to expand and relocate its operations to the newly developed Cadenza Building on nearby Earlsfort Terrace. The offices at No. 75 St Stephen’s Green, meanwhile, are fully fitted, extend across a total area of 15,749 sq. ft and are comprised for the most part of open-plan accommodation capable of seating up to 141 people. The Irish Times, 28th February

North Wall Quay, Dublin 1 Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) has proposed the creation of a public viewing gallery to be known as the “Liffey Experience” as part of its proposed redevelopment of global banking giant Citi’s current European headquarters at 1 North Wall Quay in Dublin’s docklands. RGRE has sought permission to demolish the bank’s existing six-storey office building and to replace it with a new net-zero structure. Should it get the go-ahead the proposed development would comprise 508,325 sq. ft of office, cultural and public space distributed across several blocks ranging in height from nine to 17 storeys along 125m of river frontage. The Irish Times, 28th February

Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2 Savills, on the instructions of receivers PwC, is seeking a buyer for 65 Fitzwilliam Square, a Georgian office building located in Dublin’s traditional central business district. The property is being offered for sale with the benefit of vacant possession at a guide price of €2.85m. No. 65 Fitzwilliam Square briefly comprises a four-storey over-basement building extending to 7,100 sq. ft. The Irish Times, 28th February

Parnell Square, Dublin 1 Finnegan Menton is handling the sale of No. 43 Parnell Square in Dublin 1 with a price tag of €1.6m. The property, once the Leinster Football Association headquarters, is in office use and is being offered for sale with vacant possession. It is located on the west side of Parnell Square, directly opposite the Garden of Remembrance and the Rotunda Hospital. No. 43 is a four-storey over-basement Georgian property which extends to a net internal floor area of approx. 4,114 sq. ft. The Business Post, 2nd March

The Bishop’s Quay, Limerick Verizon has secured a 15 year lease for the 84,335 sq. ft 1BQ office building in Limerick. 1BQ is an €80m development built on the site of the old ESB building in the heart of Limerick City. The development also includes ground-floor commercial units (which are still available to let), approx. 34 luxury apartment suites and 124 parking spaces. 1BQ was built by Kirkland Investments, which is led by Rudi Butler. The Business Post, 2nd March



Hammerson’s Irish Portfolio UK property group Hammerson, which has a half stake in Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin, wrote down the value of its Irish properties by a further 5.5% last year against the backdrop of rising interest rates. The value of the Irish portfolio, which also includes 50% stakes in the Ilac Centre in the city and Pavilions shopping complex in Swords, North Co Dublin, declined by £37.5m to £630m, Hammerson said on Thursday as it reported results for 2023. The group had booked a total of £239m of revaluation losses against the Irish flagship portfolio over the previous three years, driven mainly by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on shopping habits globally. Hammerson also reduced the value of assets in its so-called developments and other portfolio across the UK and the Republic by 10.5% to £280m. This portfolio includes a 50% interest in residential schemes in Dundrum, a mixed-use scheme planned for its landmark O’Connell Street site, and land in Swords. The Irish Times, 29th February

Tallaght, Dublin 24 The sale by Oaktree of The Square is understood to have been held up following an objection from one of the US private equity giant’s lenders to the further substantial discount now set to be applied to the scheme’s already heavily discounted guide price. Having paid €250m to acquire the Tallaght shopping centre from Nama in 2019, Oaktree put it on the market last June for €170m. The Irish Times understands that bids for the scheme have come in between €120m and €125m, or just half of the US investor’s original outlay. Eagle Street Partners is understood to be vying with Hines to secure ownership of The Square, with Ardstone Capital also still in the running out of the five parties who tabled bids originally. While Oaktree and the main lender on the scheme, AIB, are said by sources to be prepared to dispose of The Square at around the levels being proposed by the three remaining bidders, London-headquartered M&G Investments is understood to have voiced its objections as a sale of the centre at such a heavy discount would see the mezzanine or junior debt it provided for The Square’s purchase being wiped out. The Irish Times, 28th February

Grafton Street, Dublin 2 New Balance is planning to open a new shop on Grafton Street according to a planning application. The application, which was filed with Dublin City Council on February 23, said New Balance Athletic shoes is seeking to open the shop at 104 Grafton Street. The unit was previously occupied by Cath Kidston but is now vacant. The Business Post, 3rd March



Eyre Square, Galway Citypoint is being sold by joint agents TWM and Savills at a guide price of €21.5m (NIY 7.91%). The property was originally developed in 2007 and extends to 80,000 sq. ft across six floors over a three-level basement car park. Citypoint comes for sale fully occupied with a WAULT of 6.6 years to the nearest break option and approx. 8.7 years to lease expiry. TK Maxx occupies 40,000 sq. ft of retail space, while the office accommodation of 21,000 sq. ft is home to the European headquarters of US tech company Mathworks, which has been in occupation since late 2016 and expanded into the remainder of the office space in 2022. The investment also includes a gym operator trading as Snap Fitness at part ground floor and basement levels, while the upper floors from the third to fifth floor level is operated by the Western Hotel as an aparthotel, with a total of 17 self-catering units. Citypoint is generating total passing rent of approx. €1.87m annually. 61% of this income is secured by upwards-only or index-linked leases. The investment’s €21.5m guide price reflects an underlying capital value of €265 per sq. ft. The Irish Times, 28th February

Swords, North Co Dublin Swords Collection, a mixed-use portfolio, which is fully let and occupied by tenants that include McDonald’s and aviation-leasing specialist ASL Airlines Ltd, is being offered for sale by Cushman & Wakefield at a guide price of €6.8m. The WAULT is 11.1 years while the WAULT to the break option is 7.6 years. McDonald’s occupies the northern portion of the block, which faces Swords Main Street. McDonald’s comprises the ground, first and second floor, extending to 4,134 sq. ft. The passing rent is €160k pa expiring in 2033 with no breaks. Aviation House faces the Malahide Road and comprises a modern four-storey office, extending to 23,156 sq. ft. ASL occupies the property on a 25-year lease expiring in 2035, at an economical rent of €17.63 per sq. ft, which equates to a total passing rent of €408.25k. ASL has recently agreed to remove its break option in 2025 and postpone it to 2030. The €6.8m guide price represents a NIY of 7.6% based on the total current income of €568.25k pa. The Irish Times, 28th February

Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) The receivership sale of a distressed €150m collection of assets owned by Irish developer Johnny Ronan is moving closer after agents were instructed to manage the disposal. Cushman & Wakefield and JLL have been mandated by Grant Thornton – the appointed receivers to the portfolio of 10 properties – to sell off the assets individually or as a collection. The appointment of Grant Thornton came in November last year after RGRE entered a “consensual restructuring process” with the portfolio’s lenders: Bank of Ireland and AIB. The two Irish banks are understood to be owed €130m. The retail and office portfolio includes Connaught House on Burlington Road, AIB Investment House on Percy Place in Dublin 4, Kingram House in Dublin 2, Kilmore House in Spencer Dock and Bewley’s Cafe on Grafton Street. React News, 1st March



Primary Health Properties, a London-based investor in primary healthcare facilities, is in advanced stages of discussions to deploy €50m to build two properties in Ireland. Harry Hyman, chief executive, said the firm hopes to complete the projects in 2024. However, he warned negotiations hinge on the HSE re-tendering the projects with increased rents to take into account inflation. The Business Post, 28th February



Student Accommodation Lease Tenure Proposals to change planning laws to ensure the mandatory lease period for student accommodation is confined to the academic year are set to be brought to Cabinet within weeks. The Government has been considering possible actions that could be taken in the wake of recent instances of student housing operators offering students only 51-week tenancies for the 2024-2025 academic year. Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has now said the Government intends to amend planning laws to ensure leases for the academic year of approx. 40 weeks are available to students. The Irish Times, 29th February



Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6 Cushman & Wakefield has completed the sale of a prime residential development site located at 146-156 Harold’s Cross Road to Greg Kavanagh for €2.1m. After a competitive bidding process with multiple parties interested in the property, the sale closed for a premium on its original €2m asking price. Fronting onto Harold’s Cross Park, the dual frontage site positioned north of the Mount Argus and Harold’s Cross Road intersection. It currently comprises a terraced block of mixed-use derelict properties and extends to approx. 0.2 acres. A scheme was granted planning in 2022 for a development comprising 20 residential units including 13 one-bedroom apartments, three two-bedroom apartments and four two-bedroom duplexes. The scheme also provides for 70 bicycle spaces and a communal garden at ground floor level. The Business Post, 29th February

Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) Report Mortgage approvals were down 11.8% in January 2024 compared to a year previously, new figures from the BPFI have shown. A total of 3,262 mortgages were approved in the first month of the year, representing a 16.8% increase compared to one month previous, but a fall from January 2023. The number of mover purchase mortgages approved fell to its lowest January-level since 2016, as the supply of second-hand homes declined. 61% of mortgages approved in January were for first-time buyers – an annual increase of 4.7% – while mover purchasers accounted for just over a fifth. The total value of approved mortgages for the month was €919m. First-time buyers accounted for €577m of this figure – a 10.2% increase on January 2023 – with €227m reported for mover purchases. The number of remortgages or switches negotiated fell by 49.6% between January 2023 and 2024, and by 56% in terms of value for the same period. The Business Post, 1st March

Cairn Homes Revenue at listed builder Cairn Homes hit €666.8m, up 8%, last year as the firm highlighted “significant momentum” resulting in 1,741 sales. Construction on more than 2,100 new homes started in the year, a 21% rise on 2022. The Michael Stanley-led company’s annual results showed an operating profit of €113.4m, a 10% rise. Cairn said that the average sale price for its homes was €383k before Vat. The results said that Cairn remains committed to returning surplus cash to shareholders and that it has returned over €315m since 2019, representing 30% of its current market capitalisation. The Business Post, 29th February

Glenveagh, the listed homebuilding company, recorded a double-digit fall in pre-tax profits last year due to a fall in revenues and a surge in finance costs on the back of higher interest rates. Announcing full year results for 2023 on Wednesday, Glenveagh reported pre-tax profits of just over €55m, which was down 13% on the previous year. Glenveagh’s urban division, which comprises apartments built for institutional investors in Dublin and Cork, contracted sharply last year, with revenues falling approx. 40% to €120m. However, the group’s sub-urban business unit, which delivers homes in the Greater Dublin Area, recorded a 4% increase in revenues during 2023 to €471m. Glenveagh’s newest division is its partnerships unit, which comprises housing developments delivered on behalf of state agencies such as the Land Development Agency (LDA). From a standing start in 2023, the group’s newest division generated revenues of €17m and the company is forecasting revenues will exceed €100m this year. Overall, operating profits at Glenveagh increased marginally last year to just under €71m, while operating profit margins expanded to approx. 12%. Earnings per share increased 5% to 8 cent. The Business Post, 28th February

Drogheda, Co Meath REA O’Brien Collins is bringing strategically located lands on the southside of Drogheda for sale in an online auction on Thursday, March 14. The lands with extensive frontage to the Colpe Road – which connect the Dublin Road at Southgate Shopping Centre and Donacarney/Bettystown, comprise approx. 35.71 acres. The strategically located lands are laid out in two large field divisions and have an advised minimum value of €1.6m. The auction will take place on BidNow.ie from 11am to 12pm. The Business Post, 1st March

Bluebell, Dublin 12 A landmark property for the Irish farming community, Ifac House on the Old Naas Road in Bluebell, Dublin 12, sold for €3.283m or more than double its €1.5m guide price at a BidX1’s Leap Day auction on Thursday. That guide price itself was half what had been quoted two years ago for a private treaty sale when it did not sell. At that time the property appeared to be more valuable as an investment as approx. half the property was let to two tenants and generated €106k in rental income. The remainder of the four-storey building was owner-occupied. Extending to a total of 17,437 sq. ft, Ifac House has a ground floor extending to 4,456 sq. ft while each of the other three floors stretch to 4,327 sq. ft. The detached building comes with 37 surface car parking spaces. The Business Post, 1st March

An Bord Pleanála An already delayed report on the external investigation into An Bord Pleanála by a senior barrister has missed another deadline and is not expected until the beginning of April, according to the planning authority. The notice, which was published on the An Bord Pleanála website on March 1, said the final interview with “the last substantive witness” had been completed and Lorna Lynch SC expects to “furnish her report to the chairperson at the beginning of April”. The report – which was commissioned at the beginning of 2023 and aims to investigate a series of matters at An Bord Pleanála – has faced continuous delays. The Business Post, 4th March

Dún Laoghaire, South Co Dublin Starz Real Estate has provided a €26m senior loan to Bartra to refinance a co-living property with 204 guest studios in Dublin. Opened in the second quarter of 2023, Niche Living Dún Laoghaire features communal kitchens, living rooms and dining space on seven floors. There is also a lounge on the ground floor, co-working spaces with private meeting rooms, a games room, private cinema and a gym. Starz’s loan refinanced the construction facility and will support the scheme’s first years of operation. React News, 1st March

Foxrock, Dublin 18 A valuable Foxrock development site with planning permission for a mix of 57 houses and apartments has been sold by Richmond Homes, the residential development division of investment firm Avestus Capital Partners, which had been seeking €11.5m through Lisney Commercial Real Estate. Located on 3.13-acres surrounding Craughwell, a large five-bedroom detached house, it is accessed by way of a private road linking it to Brighton Road, one of the main roads traversing Foxrock and its village centre which is located less than 500m away. The Foxrock site came with planning permission for 21 three-and four-bedroom semi-detached houses along with 36 apartments consisting of a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The Irish Independent, 29th February

Dunmore Road, Waterford and Clare A development of 89 homes in Waterford is now free to proceed after the conclusion of an appeals process. Suirbay Ltd had been granted permission for the works at Dunmore Road, approx. 5km south-east of Waterford city, by Waterford City & County Council, but a third-party appeal saw the matter referred to An Bord Pleanála. The proposal from Suirbay included 74 two-storey houses and 16 mews dwellings, as well as a creche. The initial planning permitted the development of 89 of the proposed 90 homes. A third-party appeal raised concerns about site access, water supplies, and further site services. However, An Bord Pleanála has upheld the decision of the local authority and approved the development of 89 homes on the site. The Irish Examiner, 28th February

Ennis, Clare A proposal to build 13 homes in Ennis has been refused by An Bord Pleanála. Clare County Council had granted permission to Padraig Howard for the plans, to be located at Knockanean in Ennis. The application related to the construction of 13 detached houses in a low-density scheme on lands where development was already underway in relation to services and infrastructure. However, an appeal raised concern that the site in question is a floodplain. The Irish Examiner, 28th February

Cork Construction of more than 1,000 homes on the former Live at the Marquee site in Cork is due to begin in the second half of this year, property developer Glenveagh has said. Planners were given the go-ahead for the site back in 2021 but minor works on the site only began in October last year. The development is located at the former Ford Distribution site on an approx. 12.3-acre parcel of land, bordered by Centre Park Road, the Marquee link road and Monahan Road. The development involves the construction of 12 apartment blocks, some will be 14 storeys high, and are targeted at the build-to-rent sector. Glenveagh purchased the land for the development in 2018 for a reported €15m. The Irish Examiner, 28th February

Tralee, Co Kerry Plans for more than 230 new homes in Tralee, Co Kerry have been put on hold. Ned O’Shea & Sons (Rock) Ltd had been granted permission by Kerry County Council to construct a residential development at Lisloose, Tralee. The development would be located on a site of approx. 22.7 acres and consist of a residential element of approx. 235 homes, a creche, a retail unit, car parking, shared open spaces, landscaping and associated site works. The proposal would see 129 two-storey homes and 92 apartments delivered in three phases of work. However, a series of appeals now means the development will be reviewed by An Bord Pleanála. A decision is expected to be communicated by mid-April. The Irish Examiner, 28th February

Cloyne and Kinsale, Co Cork A development of 96 new homes in Cloyne has been held up by an appeal. Cork County Council planners had greenlit proposals by Palmira Ltd to develop the new homes at Commons West, but a third-party appeal means the matter will be reviewed by An Bord Pleanála, with a decision due in mid-June. Elsewhere, a proposed housing development in Kinsale, which involves the demolition of a former school, will now be subject to an appeal. Rafden Limited was granted permission by Cork County Council for the demolition and removal of the former St Joseph’s National School, located at Blind Gate Street and Rampart Lane in Kinsale. In its place, 18 residential units, consisting of two five-bed houses, ten four-bed houses, three three-bed duplex units, and three two-bed simplex units. A third-party appeal has resulted in the matter being referred to An Bord Pleanála, with a decision due by mid-June. The Irish Examiner, 28th February

Donabate and Balbriggan, North Dublin Fingal County Council granted planning permission to Aledo Donabate Ltd to construct 1,020 homes at Corballis East, Donabate. However, in a separate decision, it refused permission to Dean Swift Property Holdings UC to construct 564 dwellings at lands off Flemington Lane, Balbriggan. The Donabate scheme is located just behind Smyths House pub and includes a 32-acre nature park. It consists of 529 houses, 356 duplex/triplex units, 84 apartments, and 51 sheltered units. In addition, the proposed development will provide two childcare facilities with capacity for 237 children; three retail units; two café units and a medical centre. The site has permission for a Strategic Housing Development (SHD) for 1,323 dwellings and LRD planning documentation states that the SHD decision is currently the subject of a judicial review. As part of the proposal, Aledo Donabate intends to sell 102 dwellings for an indicative €39.88m to Fingal council for social and affordable housing under Part V requirements. The Dean Swift Property Holdings UC proposal was made up of 378 houses, 84 duplex units and 102 apartments across 10 apartment blocks. The scheme faced “a significant number” of third-party objections and the council has now refused planning permission for the scheme on three grounds. The Irish Times, 4th March

North Docklands, Dublin 1 The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, Australian superannuation fund HESTA and asset manager Eagle Street Partners have started above-groundwork on their build-to-rent development at Castleforbes Business Park in Dublin’s North Docklands, with the joint venture advised by Nuveen Real Estate. The first phase of the development is due for practical completion in the third quarter of 2025, the companies said, and will consist of 508 studios and one-bed apartments, 179 two-bed apartments and 15 three-bed apartments. The approx. 495,000 sq. ft development is set to include new homes for rent across eight blocks, an 18-storey residential tower, plus an adjacent hospitality offer. Eagle Street is acting as developer and operator of the 702 rental apartments under its Resident Space operating platform, while the residential block will be built by John Paul Construction and financed by Apollo Global Management. Bisnow, 4th March

Youghal, Co Cork James Dyson is behind the recent off-market purchase of Ballynatray House, the Business Post has learned. The mansion sits on 850 acres along the banks of the Blackwater River on the Cork-West Waterford border and was bought for approx. €35m. The sale would make it the second highest private house sale in Ireland after Sean Dunne’s €59m purchase of Walford on Shrewsbury Road in Dublin 4 in 2005. The Business Post, 28th February

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