7th February (Issue 383)

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.



Douglas Village Shopping Centre has been sold for more than €23m to the property investment firm Urban Green Private. The company won out over seven interested parties all of whom either bid at or above the original asking price of €21m. While the firm’s portfolio includes three other shopping centres, Douglas Village, on a six-acre prime site in one of Cork City’s more affluent suburbs, is its biggest asset. The centre has an annual rental income of €2.4m. M&S and TK Maxx are the existing tenants at the 230,000 sq. ft Douglas Village centre, of which 80,000 sq. ft is owned by anchor tenant Tesco. The centre also has a 1,000-space multilevel carpark. The Irish Examiner, 3rd February

South Anne Street, Dublin 2 Women’s activewear brand Sweaty Betty is to open its first standalone store in Dublin city centre. The company has agreed a deal to occupy no. 32-33 South Anne Street and is expected to open for business this spring. Sweaty Betty’s new premises on South Anne Street extend to 1,216 sq. ft and were occupied for many years by the TM Lewin shirt company. Sweaty Betty is understood to have agreed to pay a rent of c. €225k pa for its new premises. The Irish Times, 1st February

St Patrick’s Street, Cork Spanish fashion retail giant Mango has inked a deal to open a new store in Cork City in what is being hailed as a major boost for the main street. The new store will operate out of Nos. 106-108, the former Quills outlet, which has been vacant since 2014. Quills was bought by Clarendon Properties, owners of the adjoining Savoy shopping mall, for €2m in 2015. Savills who brokered the deal on behalf of Clarendon Properties said Mango has signed a 10-year lease, with fit-out due to start immediately. The terms include a five-year break clause, with Mango to pay a penalty if they exit. Mango will occupy 5,500 sq. ft of retail space at Nos. 106-108, including a 4,400 sq. ft ground floor and a c. 1,100 sq. ft mezzanine storage area. The Irish Examiner, 1st February

St Patrick’s Street, Cork Fast fashion retailer Penneys is still awaiting a decision from An Bord Pleanála in relation to its expansion plans. Penneys owns an entire block on Cork’s main street and is planning to increase its retail space by 17,000 sq. ft to 54,000 sq. ft. The planning application was appealed to An Bord Pleanála with a decision due last October but this has been delayed. The Irish Examiner, 1st February



Damastown, Dublin 15 Cushman & Wakefield is offering IBM’s main manufacturing facility in Damastown, Dublin 15, to the market at a guide price of €80m. Developed by IBM in the 1990s, Damastown Business Campus extends across a total area of 87 acres and currently comprises over 625,000 sq. ft of office accommodation, warehousing, and production space across five buildings, with further development potential across three greenfield sites which extend to 25.1 acres. IBM is considering a lease back of a suitable building on the Damastown campus as part of the sale process. The ERV associated with this potential lease is c. €2.8m. The Irish Times, 31st January



Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 Colliers is guiding €3m for No. 73 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin. The subject property, which is being sold on behalf of the Health Research Board, briefly comprises a four-storey over-basement, end-of-terrace Georgian building extending to a NIA of 3,978 sq. ft. The property, which is currently in office use, sits on an extensive site with original coach house to the rear. The Irish Times, 1st February

North Docklands, Dublin An Post has agreed to lease an additional floor at the Exo – Dublin’s tallest office building. The agreement of the deal brings the State postal service provider’s footprint at the building to a total of 83,572 sq. ft across six floors. An Post is expected to take up occupancy of its new space in March. The building’s joint letting agents, Savills and CBRE, say that there is “active interest” from prospective occupiers in the Exo’s remaining 87,000 sq. ft of office accommodation. The available space comprises three floors extending to c. 18,000 sq. ft each, and six tower floors of c. 5,600 sq. ft each. Developed by EPISO4, a fund managed by Tristan Capital Partners and its local operating partners, SW3 Captal, the Exo comprises a total of 170,572 sq. ft of grade A office space distributed over 17 storeys. The Irish Times, 1st February

St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 Dublin City Council has granted planning permission for the demolition of the building that housed the former Anglo Irish Bank HQ on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green. Irish Life Assurance plc subsidiary, Stephen Court Ltd, has been given the green light to build a seven-storey office block in its place at 18-21 St Stephen’s Green. The former Anglo Irish Bank building also reaches to seven storeys but the gross floor area of the new scheme will be 50% more than what is currently in place rising from 151,426 sq. ft. to 228,400 sq. ft. The Irish Times, 2nd February

North Docklands, Dublin US tech firm Datadog has leased 40,000 sq. ft of office space in Dublin’s Docklands. Datadog has taken space in Commerz Real’s Dockland Central office complex. The deal was a sublet from another tech business, Hubspot. New York-headquartered Datadog currently has space in 70 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. React News, 3rd February



Edward Square, Galway Potential purchasers are being offered finance to assist with the purchase of a student accommodation investment in the heart of Galway city. Radical Student Living launched the 106-student-bed spaces at Edward Square on the market last October and its agent CBRE is quoting €13.75m for the property. With a gross passing rent including estimated summer revenue of €1.39m pa, the price represents a NIY of 6.5%. This week the firm announced that it is also offering up to 55% leverage to assist a purchaser to fund the purchase. The property is fully occupied for the 2022/23 academic year. In addition, the property offers opportunities to generate summer revenue from the thousands of tourists who flock to Galway each year. The Irish Independent, 2nd February



Social Housing, Greater Dublin Area Cairn Homes has secured c. €131m from the sale of 316 new homes it has developed in Co Wicklow, to approved housing body Tuath Housing and to the Land Development Agency (LDA). In the first instance the publicly-listed housebuilder completed the sale shortly before Christmas of 174 apartments at its Hawkins Wood scheme in Greystones to Tuath for an overall consideration of €71m (c. €408k per unit). Nos. 1-84 Aldborough Hall and nos. 1-90 Aldborough Manor were sold in two tranches in November and December, according to the Property Price Register for sums of €34.025m and €36.98m respectively.
The LDA, meanwhile, is understood to have paid c. €60m (c. €422.5k per unit) to secure ownership of 142 new homes it recently acquired from Cairn Homes at Archers Wood. The Irish Times, 1st February

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16 Savills is guiding €8m for a 6.16-acre (c. €1.3m per acre) residential development site in Rathfarnham, Dublin 16. Located in the Stocking Lane, the subject site comes to the market with planning permission for a SHD of 131 residential units comprising a mix of 21 houses, 46 duplexes/duplex apartments, 64 apartments, childcare facilities, a retail unit and associated works. The subject site also includes an existing four-bedroom house, “St Winnows”, measuring 1,614 sq. ft on 0.22 acres. The Irish Times, 1st February

Local Authority Houses, Dublin Dublin City Council has spent c. €220m to buy back former local authority houses over six years, new figures show. The local authority confirmed that it had spent a total of €358.6m on purchasing properties between 2016 and 2021, with c. 61% of that figure spent on homes that were originally built by the council. Documents obtained by the Workers’ Party under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that DCC spent €110.6m on acquisitions in 2019 alone, with c. €71.3m of that sum going towards former council houses. Meanwhile, an analysis of reports by the National Oversight and Audit Commission into social housing between 2017 and 2021 show the council had 268 fewer houses by the end of the five-year period. Under the tenant purchase scheme, people living in local authority homes can buy the property they live in from the council at a discounted rate once they meet certain criteria. The Sunday Times, 5th February

Benburb Street, Dublin 7 One of Dublin’s oldest flat complexes, left derelict since it was damaged by fire 18 years ago, has been refurbished for social housing at a cost of €9m. Tuath Housing Association has completed work on 22 apartments and houses at Ellis Court, a former Dublin City Council complex on Benburb Street, close to the National Museum at Collins Barracks and Croppies Acre park. The four-storey complex of two redbrick blocks, constructed in the 1880s, was one of the first purpose-built Dublin Corporation flat complexes. The Irish Times, 2nd February

€450m State Subsidy Scheme The European Commission has given approval for the government to move ahead with its new Croí Cónaithe fund, which will subsidise developers building apartments for private sale. Launched last year, the Croí Cónaithe Cities scheme will subsidise the cost of building apartments by providing developers with between €25k and €144k per unit. It is hoped these funds will bridge the gap between how much it costs to build an apartment and the price people can afford to pay.
The government has forecast that the Fund will help to deliver 5,000 units for sale to individuals by 2026. Currently the Housing Agency, which is managing the scheme, is concluding appraisals of projects with a potential for up to 2,100 apartments. A second call under the scheme is expected to be announced in the coming months. The Business Post, 6th February

Home Commencements Data published by the Building Control Management System (BCMS) shows the number of new housing commencements, a key measure of house-building activity, fell by more than 12% last year to less than 27,000 units. The slowdown was most pronounced in the second half of the year, with just over 12,800 units commenced between July and December, a 16% fall on the same period in 2021. The BCMS figures show there was a particularly sharp contraction in housing commencements between June and October, as the industry grappled with soaring construction costs and rising interest rates.
There was a pronounced effect on the commencement of new apartment blocks in particular, which fell c. 30% YoY. The figures come as new research from Davy found that homebuilding will remain subdued in 2023. The stockbroking firm has forecast that completions will drop from last year’s figure of c. 30,000 units to c. 27,500 in 2023, which is below the Government’s Housing for All target.
While housing commencements have stalled and large numbers of developments remain tied up in the planning system, the number of vacant homes in Ireland has fallen to its lowest level in more than five years. Figures published by GeoDirectory, the property data firm owned by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland, reveals the number of vacant homes in Ireland fell by 7% last year to less than 84,000 houses at the end of December 2022. This means c. 6,500 homes that were previously classified as vacant have been occupied in the last year, while it has also seen the average vacancy rate across Ireland drop to 4%. The Business Post, 6th February



New Planning Legislation Planning authorities, including the new An Coimisiún Pleanála, will face penalties if they do not meet statutory deadlines for processing planning applications, the acting assistant secretary for planning at the Department of Housing will tell an Oireachtas committee. The Draft Planning and Development Bill 2022 will provide users of the planning system with “greater certainty through the introduction of a range of mandatory timelines”, Paul Hogan will tell the housing committee. The new legislation is intended to reduce the number of judicial reviews, which have been blamed for slowing down development of housing and other infrastructure. The Irish Times, 7th February

Dublin City Council has begun work on the Liffey Street Public Realm Improvement Scheme. The total project cost is €6.5m and will result in an enhanced and attractive pedestrian-friendly space. Dublin City Council’s head of Roads Section, Dermot Collins, said: “The Liffey Street Public Realm Improvement Scheme design places a strong emphasis on pedestrians and when completed will create a quality pedestrian plaza, located between Strand Street and the Quays. The construction works will include a full upgrade of the asphalt carriageway, widening and repaving of footpaths and an extension of the existing pedestrian area on Liffey Street Upper to the intersection with Abbey Street.”
Utility works will include the replacement of an existing gas main, the provision and installation of new watermains and the installation of new surface water sewers. The Liffey Street Public Realm Improvement Scheme works comprises all of Upper and Lower Liffey Street, from Henry Street to Bachelors Walk. It is anticipated that the project will take 24 months to complete, with work progressing onto Lower Liffey Street in the summer of 2023. The Business Post, 4th February


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