8th August (Issue 409)

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.



Howth, Co. Dublin Tetrarch Capital, the Irish property investment group, has received planning permission to build a 142-bedroom hotel on the site of the former Deer Park hotel in Howth in North Co Dublin. The new development, which was granted permission last week by Fingal County Council, is described by the property investment group as a “destination hotel” that will include a spa, fitness centre and conference rooms as well as a rooftop restaurant and bar. Under Tetrarch’s plan, the existing Deer Park hotel building, which has been closed since 2004 but currently houses around 150 Ukrainian refugees, will be demolished, and replaced by a new four-storey hotel. The project forms part of a wider redevelopment plan by Tetrarch for the 472-acre Howth Estate, which it acquired in 2019 as part of a €21 million deal. The property group expects the new hotel will create 280 full- and part-time jobs once it is fully operational by 2025. As part of its redevelopment of the Howth Estate, Tetrarch is planning an 18-hole championship golf course adjacent to the hotel. The Business Post, 6th August



Zoom Video communications company Zoom is reported to have ordered staff back to the office on a more frequent basis. The company and its brand became synonymous with remote work during the pandemic. It joins the likes of Amazon and Disney in reducing the number of remote workdays available to employees. The firm said it believed a “structured hybrid approach” was most effective and people living within 80 kilometres of an office should work in person at least twice a week. Zoom said that the new policy, first reported by Business Insider, would put the company in a “better position to use our own technologies, continue to innovate, and support our global customers”. Zoom had said in the past that employees would be able to work remotely indefinitely. The new policy will be rolled out on a staggered timeline over the coming months. Zoom said it would continue to “hire the best talent, regardless of location”. Earlier this year, the company announced that it would be cutting staff numbers by around 1,300 globally. It employed around 8,400 people at the time. Employee numbers at Zoom had grown by over 300% within 24 months to meet rapid demand arising from the push to remote working brought about by the pandemic. RTE.ie, 8th August



Baldoyle, North Dublin Ready-meal producer Kilbride Classic Cuisine has bought the former Sudocrem factory in north Dublin, where it aims to double its number of staff creating around 100 jobs. In May 2021 Teva Pharmaceuticals announced it was to close its Sudocrem production plant in Dublin, with the loss of more than 100 jobs. Kilbride co-owner and director Jimmy Kilbride Jnr, said the family-owned company would spend around €5.5m overall to acquire and invest in the 42,000 sq. ft facility. The plant is near one of Kilbride Classic Cuisine’s current facilities, which is also in Baldoyle. Kilbride Jnr said the deal for the new facility was closed last month, with plans for it to be opened in January 2024. He also hopes to enhance the company’s sustainability at the new plant. The Sunday Independent, 6th August

Knight Frank Q2 Report Q2 was another healthy quarter of activity in the logistics and industrial sector, bringing the total for H1 to 1,567,548 sq. ft. which is 6% ahead of the same period last year. The largest deal of Q2 was the pre-let of Unit P2, Horizon Logistics Park, Co. Dublin – a 113,129 sq. ft  design and build warehouse – by WestRock. The pipeline remains tight. 67% of the space completed in Q2 was already pre- let.While prime rents remained stable within the €12 – €12.50 per sq. ft. range, upward pressure is possible before year-end, driven by tight supply. €48.6m worth of logistics and industrial assets transacted in Q2, 15% of the total investment spend in Ireland in Q2, bringing the total for H1 to €163.3m.The largest transaction of Q2 was the sale of the Davy Portfolio, a collection of assets based in West Dublin, to M7 Real Estate for €22.3m. Investment activity is expected to be constrained into H2 due to tougher lending conditions but also due to a lack of opportunities Knight Frank Quarterly Report, 2nd August



Drumcondra, Dublin 9 The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a developer’s appeal against the High Court’s decision to strike down planning permission for 1,592 apartments in north Dublin’s inner suburbs. A partner fund of developer Hines received fast-track approval in November 2021 to build its €602m build-to-rent scheme on the site of the former Holy Cross seminary on Clonliffe Road in Drumcondra. The 12-block apartment project was judicially challenged by a resident of Foxrock, south Co Dublin. The High Court’s Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys overturned the permission last January after finding An Bord Pleanála failed to follow the required approach to assessing a development’s impact on a protected structure. The developer’s application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal was refused by Mr. Justice Humphreys. However, in a determination published, a Supreme Court judging panel found issues of general public importance that warranted a direct appeal to it. The Irish Times, 3rd August

South Circular Road, Dublin 8 The Supreme Court has agreed to hear with “expedition” two locals’ appeal against the dismissal of their challenge to 2020 permission for the construction of 416 homes off Dublin’s South Circular Road. The planning permission, granted to a subsidiary fund of US property group Hines in September 2020, is for five years, so there is a “real risk” it will be undermined by further delay, the developer, An Bord Pleanála and State parties submitted to the court. The judicial review initiated in November 2020 has been the subject of five High Court judgments and a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The Hines subsidiary fund (DBTR-SCR1 Fund) also sought leave from the Supreme Court, saying it had “no option” but to have the appeal determined urgently. The “Bailey Gibson” five-block build would range in height from two to 16 storeys, with 10% of the stock going to social housing in line with statutory requirements. The development site adjoins lands of the former Player Wills factory, which has approval for 732 apartments across four blocks, including one with 19 floors. The Irish Times, 2nd August

Mount Merrion, Blackrock. Wellsea Properties has applied for permission to build an apartment block on Foster’s Avenue in Dublin. The project will involve demolishing two existing two-storey detached dwellings at the site in Mount Merrion, Blackrock. A four-storey building comprising 24 apartments will be built in their place. Most of the flats will be two-bed, while the remaining will be one-bed. The project will also include 19 car parking spaces and 40 bike parking spaces. New build flats in the area regularly sell for prices above half a million euro, while many fetch more than €1m. Documents submitted by planning consultants acting on behalf of Wellsea Properties show that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the local authority for the area, requested a justification for the height of the project as part of a planning consultation.  A decision on the application is due by the council in September. The Irish Independent, 8th August.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien is pushing for the renters’ tax ­credit to be ­increased to almost €800, the average ­monthly rent per renter, along with ­income-based tax breaks for landlords as part of his Budget demands. Mr O’Brien also wants to extend the Help to Buy scheme for first-time buyers for another two years, and to examine if there is scope to increase the €30,000 tax back limit. In an interview with Independent.ie, Mr O’Brien outlined how he is additionally seeking to enhance his First Home scheme. This would allow homebuyers purchase second-hand homes using the Government’s shared ­equity programme which is currently only available for newly built houses. He also expects the Tenant In Situ scheme, which lets local authorities buy rental properties to keep renters facing eviction in their homes, to be extended into the coming year. The Department of Housing has a €4.6bn-a-year capital budget for the next two years to ensure funding is available for bricks-and-mortar projects. The Irish Independent, 8th August

Kildare Glenveagh Properties is planning to build two timber-frame manufacturing factories in Co. Kildare, which could lead to the creation of up to 600 jobs. Nua Manufacturing, Glenveagh’s timber-frame construction arm, which was set up this year, has applied for a seven-year planning permission for two factories on Nurney Road, near Kildare town, which will measure more than 656,599 sq. ft in total. Although not confirmed, it is estimated the investment is likely to exceed €75m. The two factories will be three times the size of Glenveagh’s Carlow off-site manufacturing facility, which opened in June. The company bought the old Braun factory site for more than €6m in 2021 and invested €50m in it. The company is in the process of recruiting 200 staff for that site, which will have the capacity to build 1,250 timber frames and 500 light gauge steel frames for new homes each year. The Sunday Times, 6th August

Conor Pass, Co Kerry Lands and forestry on the Conor Pass in Dingle, Co Kerry have been offered for sale for €10m by an American owner. Marketed as the “Connor Pass” the 1,000 acres of land and approx 400 acres of forestry is being advertised on it’s own website: www.connorpass.com. It was previously put on the market in 2007 but the economic crash put an end to any possible State intervention. The site includes four lakes – Pedlar’s Atlea, Beirne and Clogharee – along with a waterfall and mature forest. Its American owner bought the land in parcels over the years and farms it with grazing sheep. The lands in question are accessed from the Conor Pass Road, a public road which forms one of two main access routes to Dingle. The Irish Times, 3rd August

Ires Reit, the State’s largest private residential landlord, said it has agreed to sell 194 residential units in west Dublin to the Tuath Housing Association for just over €72m (approx €371k per unit) as it seeks to raise cash to maintain sufficient headroom over its debt limits at a time of falling property valuations. The group will be left with approx 3,736 units, mainly apartments, once the sales are completed. Ires said that it had seen its debt rise to 45.1% of the value of its properties from 42.6% in June last year amid declining commercial property values at a time of rising interest rates. The company shaved €56.5m off the carrying value of its property portfolio on its books, reducing it to €1.36bn. In the six months to the end of June Ires achieved an average rent across its portfolio of €1,772, up 5% on a year earlier. The occupancy rate on its 3,930 units was 99.5%. The latest deal, which will ultimately lower Ires’s LTV ratio, includes 91 units in Hansfield Wood in Clonsilla, Dublin 15, which are expected to be sold to Tuath by the end of this month for €38.1m. The Irish Times, 3rd August

AirBNB Rentals Analysis carried out by the Irish Examiner shows that there are a total of 18,086 Airbnb rentals nationwide, compared to just 1,299 rental properties available on Daft.ie. That is 14 times more short-term lets compared to long-term rentals. The high proportion of Airbnb’s compared to rental properties is particularly high in counties that are known to attract tourism, particularly Donegal, Clare, Kerry and Cork county. In particular, there were just 31 properties available to rent on Daft across Donegal. This compares to the 1,796 Airbnb rentals in the county. In Clare, there were just 17 rental properties available on Daft, however there were 1,044 properties available on Airbnb. One eighth of all Airbnb’s in Ireland are located in Kerry, where there are 82 times more short-term lets than long-term rental properties. The Government is currently seeking to further regulate the short-term let sector, with legislation agreed by Cabinet in late 2022. Currently, people seeking to let out their property require planning permission if they wish to rent it for more than 90 days a year. This legislation would establish a short-term tourist letting register that would require any homeowner renting their house for more than 21 days to register with Fáilte Ireland. It would also grant Fáilte Ireland the ability to levy fines against households for listing properties without valid registration numbers, with maximum fines of up to €2,000. The Government had estimated that the new rules would bring back an additional 12,000 properties onto the rental market. However, the European Commission ruled that it was too strict and placed aa standstill on enacting the legislation until December 22, 2023. The Irish Examiner, 8th August



Nursing Homes Tadhg Daly, the chief executive of Nursing Homes Ireland, told the Irish Independent that while a report prepared for the sector by PwC earlier this year pointed out that about a third of all public nursing homes had made a loss last year, that figure is now likely around 50pc. In its pre-Budget submission this week, Nursing Homes Ireland called on the Government to make an immediate €191m financial intervention to stabilise the sector. The money would be used to provide additional funds to the Fair Deal system that subvents nursing home costs for residents. Nursing Homes Ireland has pointed out that 34 nursing homes have closed in Ireland during the past three years, cutting more than 1,000 beds from the total available. There are currently about 440 nursing homes in Ireland, providing about 26,000 beds. But soaring costs and just marginal increases in the rates made available under the Fair Deal scheme mean that nursing homes are struggling to survive, according to Mr Daly. The Irish Independent, 5th August

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