9th March (Issue 287)

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.




Apple Cork It is reported in the Irish Examiner that Apple has agreed a deal to rent over 36,000sq ft of additional office space in Cork City. Apple are currently in the process of closing the deal for enough space for 350 to 400 additional employees initially, at Horgan’s Quay, in the top three floors of building No 1. The high-spec, energy-efficient building is ready for occupation/fit-out, overlooks the River Lee and is adjacent to the new 120-bed Dean Hotel. The mixed-use €160 million Horgan’s Quay development is being delivered on a CIE-owned six-acre river-fronting site by Clarendon Properties and BAM. It is rumoured that the developers were competing with the Navigation Square development to land Apple as a tenant Irish Examiner, 8th March

Harcourt Street, Dublin 2 Law firm Byrne Wallace is objecting to plans by US property giant Kennedy Wilson (KW) to construct a new office campus at St Stephen’s Green that will have the capacity to accommodate 3,000 office workers. KW has lodged plans to demolish the existing five- to seven-storey block and replace it with a four- to eight-storey building and provide 32,101sq m of office space. Byrne Wallace occupy neighbouring offices at 88/89 Harcourt Street and in an objection lodged against the proposed campus, the law firm contends that the KW scheme “constitutes excessive density”. Byrne Wallace argue that the scheme “potentially jeopardises the privacy of our clients and our ability to preserve and protect client confidentiality”. In a separate objection lodged on behalf of Davy Target Investments, BKD Architects state that the overbearing design, scale and massing of the scheme “is of serious concern”. The Davy entity owns the adjoining property at 97-100 Harcourt Street and 91 Harcourt Street. BKD state that Davy Target Investments’ “significant concerns” can be mitigated by considered design revisions to the scheme. The Irish Times, 9th March

North Dock Dublin 1 Targeted Investment Opportunities (TIO) has confirmed the letting of 1,467sq m (15,800sq ft) at North Dock Two to Blueface, the cloud-based telecommunications company. The Irish-founded Blueface was recently bought by American telecommunications conglomerate Comcast. The announcement of Blueface follows on from the decision late last year of US biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences to take two floors totalling 2,972sq m (32,000sq ft) in the same building. The Irish Times, 3rd March

Serpentine Sale Dublin 4 It is reported in the Irish Times that the Serpentine consortium, a syndicate of private individuals and companies assembled by AIB private banking and Goodbody Stockbrokers, has appointed Cushman & Wakefield as agent to handle the sale of its interest in Facebook’s new European headquarters in Ballsbridge. It is expected that the c. 325ksq ft property will be guiding c. €380m (€1,169 per sq. ft) and that the sale will attract significant interest internationally. The property will form part of Facebooks campus in Ballsbridge. The Irish Times, 3rd March



Smithfield Dublin 7 Global asset manager Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) has made its first investment in Ireland’s private rented sector (PRS) market, paying €20 million (c.€513k per unit) for a portfolio of 39 apartments in Dublin city centre. Built by Red Rock Developments, the scheme at 19-20 Blackhall Street in Smithfield promises to deliver a steady and reliable return to ASI’s European Long Income Real Estate Fund, as it is being let in its entirety to Dublin City Council on a 25-year inflation-linked lease. The Irish Times, 3rd March

Tallaght Dublin 24 Joint agents CBRE and Dillon Marshall Property Consultants are guiding a price of €7.35 million for a 1.47-acre site (€5m per acre/€37.5k a stand) which is located in Tallaght and has planning permission for 196 built to rent apartments. Known as “The Avenue”, the approved scheme will, upon completion, comprise a mix of studios, one and two-bedroom apartments distributed across four blocks ranging in height from six to nine storeys over basement level, and overlooking the Luas red line. There is provision within the scheme also for residential amenity space as well as several commercial units at ground floor to provide for a gym, creche and a retail/cafe unit. The site is located 13km from Dublin city centre and within walking distance of The Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght. The Irish Times, 3rd March

Goatstown Dublin 14 Publican Charlie Chawke has lodged a €186 million fast-track plan on a site beside his bar in Goatstown, south Dublin. The scheme is seeking approval for 299 apartments, a 22-bedroom hotel, six retail outlets and childcare facilities, along with the renovation and extension of the Goat Grill pub. The development on the 1.8-hectare (4.6 acre) site is to be made up of four apartment blocks ranging from five to eight storeys in height. The Irish Times, 3rd March

Waterford Sale Joint agents Cushman & Wakefield and Sherry FitzGerald have sold a site in Waterford for €4,025,000 (c. €142k per acre) after receiving several bids in excess of its €3,250,000 guide price. The site comprises 11.46ha (28.32acres) of which 25 acres were a net development area and is located within the existing Paddocks residential scheme, just off the Williamstown Road in the south east of the city. It is believed to have been bought by a national developer. The site is predominantly zoned “R1”under the Waterford City Development Plan and can be defined as “To provide for low density residential development”. The Irish Independent, 4th March

Cork Housing Cork City Council has invited expressions of interest for a potential 600-unit housing estate on a large publicly-owned site. The public procurement competition is part of plans to deliver a major new residential community of social and affordable housing on the city’s northside at the 54-acre landbank. In the council’s ownership for a number of years, the site is in the townland of Kilnap, between the Old Whitechurch Road and the Old Mallow Road and has been subject to extensive enabling works to prepare the land for housing development as the first phase of a two-stage process. Irish Examiner, 5th March

Celbridge Kildare Construction works on an Ardstone Homes Limited backed development is expected to commence on site in Q2 2021. The €81.4 million residential development located at the townland of Crodaun in Celbridge in Co Kildare will include 218 houses. The houses come in a variety of forms including detached, semi-detached and terraced houses. A mix of house sizes is proposed to include 20 two-bedroom, 140 three-bedroom and 58 four-bedroom houses. The Business Post, 8th March



Rathcoole Dublin 24 It is reported in the Irish Times that an unidentified party is understood to have entered into exclusive talks on the potential €53 million purchase of a portfolio of three warehouses being developed by Jordanstown Properties at Greenogue Logistics Park at Rathcoole in Dublin. The party in question was selected following a targeted process directed by JLL. Upon completion, blocks D, E and F will extend to 62,000sq ft, 72,000sq ft and 111,000sq ft respectively, or a combined footprint of 245,000sq ft. The prospective purchaser stands to secure an immediate return on their investment in blocks D and F with long-term leases set to be signed on both properties. The portfolio is currently being developed by Palm Logistics, an affiliate of UK-headquartered Palm Capital and its local partner, Jordanstown Properties. The Irish Times, 3rd March

Baldonnel Dublin 24 It was also reported in the Irish Times that Irish-owned logistics specialist JMC Van Trans looks set to secure about €25 million from the sale and leaseback of the new 150,000 sq.ft warehouse it has under development at Kingswood Business Park in Baldonnel. JMC is understood to have agreed a deal with the purchaser, BNP Paribas Real Estate Investment Management (BNP Paribas REIM), which will mean it can occupy the property on a 25-year lease with a break option in year 15. Based on the expected rent roll of €1.4 million per annum, BNP Paribas REIM can expect to secure a net initial yield of about 5.18%. The Irish Times, 3rd March



Hotel Market The Irish hotel market is showing signs of increased investor interest, and this is reflected in properties that have recently come to the market as well as negotiations that are resuming for off-market sales. According to CBRE since the fourth quarter of 2020 and following price discounts of up to 15-20% from vendors “there has been a discernible increase in activity from a transactional perspective. Where sellers are realistic on pricing, there are opportunities to negotiate deals. Negotiations are now well under way on several hotel assets, which should see a number of hotel transactions completing over the coming months”. The Business Post, 7th March

Iveagh Garden Hotel The Iveagh Garden Hotel on Harcourt Street has secured planning permission for an extension that will increase its bed capacity by almost a third. The extension will increase the hotels capacity by 40 bedrooms to 185. The planning permission was originally for 52 additional rooms but in order to address concerns about the impact of the development on neighbouring buildings An Bord Pleanála imposed a condition which will result in 12 of the 52 additional bedrooms planned by the hotel being omitted. The Iveagh Garden Hotel opened in 2018 at an estimated cost of €40 million. The Irish Times 9th March



Patrick Street Cork It is reported in the Irish Examiner that menswear specialist Suit Direct is to move into 83-85 Patrick Street at the corner of Carey’s lane. The property was fitted out internally since the deal was inked in December and is ready to open its doors once the pandemic retail restrictions lift. It’s the first Cork City centre shop occupancy deal of any note since Covid-19. A number of high profile retail tenants have vacated the buildings they were in which has resulted in vacancy rates on this prime retail ‘boulevard’ headed to 20% at the end of Q320 (Lisney Report). The corner unit at 83-85, created by Davy Real Estate after the amalgamation of three smaller units has now been let to UK-based Suit Direct by agent Savills, on an undisclosed flat rent, but likely to be 30% down on previous rent levels, and the agents had been seeking c€230k a year. Irish Examiner, 3rd March

Abercrombie & Fitch Dublin 2 Abercrombie & Fitch, the US fashion retailer, is shutting its Dublin store after a decade. The company said the lease on the high-profile shop on College Green in Dublin city centre was expiring and would not be renewed. The shop has been closed since the resumption of level 5 restrictions on non-essential retail in late December and will not reopen, the company said last week. Abercrombie opened the flagship store in late 2012 and a second outlet of its sister brand Hollister in the Dundrum Town Centre. Between the two stores, more than 400 full and part-time staff were employed at the peak. Sales in the retailer are declining worldwide and they have had to shut 28% of their stores since 2015. Abercrombie’s decision to exit its flagship store in Ireland is in line with a trend of reducing its physical presence in Europe, with its main European outlet on Savile Row in London also being shut. The Business Post, 7th March

Blanchardstown Centre The owners of Blanchardstown Centre are gearing up for the return of significant numbers of shoppers to its stores, with three additions to the west Dublin outlet’s food and beverage line-up. Blanchardstown has added boutique coffee house The Art of Coffee and specialist donut brand Off Beat to its offering. They will be joined later this year by gourmet burger chain Bunsen. The Art of Coffee’s unit is its first in a shopping centre and is located at the red mall entrance beside BT2. The new 65sq m (700sq ft) store was added as part of the same development that saw German supermarket chain Aldi open a new 2,200sq m (23,680sq ft) store last December. Off Beat’s new store is located near Dunnes Stores in the green mall. Bunsen’s new restaurant will be located immediately next door to Krispy Kreme. Extending to 190sq m (2,045sq ft), it will represent the popular chain’s first foray into a shopping centre since its establishment in 2013. The Irish Times, 9th March



Drawdown Data According to data published by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), property investors accounted for less than 1 per cent of all those who completed the purchase of a property with a mortgage last year, down from a peak of 20 per cent of mortgage drawdowns back in 2006. However, stepping into the gap left by property investors are other non-household buyers, such as private companies, charitable organisations and State institutions. According to the BPFI figures, these now account for 23 per cent of all market transactions, up from 3 per cent in 2010The data from the BPFI shows that there were 35,617 mortgage drawdowns valued at €8.4 billion in 2020 and 43,151 mortgage approvals in the same period with the total value reaching €10.3 billion. Almost half of approvals (44 per cent) came in the last four months of the year. First time buyers were the dominant force last year, accounting for about 53 per cent of mortgage drawdowns by value. This compares with just over 21 per cent in 2006 when mortgage drawdown activity was at its peak. The Irish Times, 9th March.

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