9th May (Issue 396)

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.



Capel Street, Dublin 1 Extending to a total area of 36,288 sq. ft, 21-24 Capel Street, which is best known as the headquarters of the Garda Ombudsman Commission, is being offered to the market by JLL at a guide price of €19.2m (6% yield). The offices are leased in their entirety under a single, FRI lease to the Garda Ombudsman Commission. The tenant did not exercise a termination option on the lease in 2017 which underpins its commitment to the space. A scheduled rent review was recently agreed at a net effective rent of €32.50 per sq. ft with the next rent review due in April 2027. The ground-floor retail unit is leased to a subsidiary of the BWG group, the parent group for numerous retail brands including Spar, Eurospar, Londis and Mace. The lease is for a 25-year term, running to April 2031 at a passing rent of €125k pa. The sale also includes 14 car parking spaces located in the building’s secure basement car park. The investment offers long-term secure income with a term certain of approx. 8.8 years across the two leases with a total passing rent of €1.27m pa. The Irish Times, 3rd May
For lending terms on this asset please contact rossmetcalfe@origincapital.ie

Greystones, North Wicklow BDM Property is guiding a price of €3.4m for Grattan Court, a high-profile mixed-use investment in Greystones in north Wicklow. The property briefly comprises a ground floor retail unit with first-floor staff accommodation occupied by Donnybrook Fair that extends to 6,915 sq. ft. In addition there are three large two-bedroom apartments that were fully refurbished in 2016. The apartments are own-door units and are accessed off an external communal courtyard. The apartments extend to 818–861 sq. ft each and feature an open-plan living and dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The wider scheme also includes 42 dedicated surface car spaces adjacent to the building. The commercial portion of the development generates a passing rent of €130.62k pa. When taken together with the residential element of the scheme, the investment is producing a total of €191.5k pa. The Irish Times, 3rd May



Maynooth, Co Kildare Irish homebuilder Glenveagh Properties has leased approx. 40,000 sq. ft of prime office space at Maynooth Business Campus from Fine Grain Property. Glenveagh’s new headquarters will span three floors of the Campus Atrium within the campus, which is 20km from Dublin city centre, following a significant investment in reconfiguring the space. The Glenveagh lease means that all 70,000 sq. ft owned and managed by Fine Grain Property at the Campus Atrium is now fully occupied, where other tenants include international companies ASML and BCM Global. The Business Post, 8th May

Blackrock, South Co Dublin French investment firm Remake Asset Management has purchased two office blocks at Blackrock Business Park in south Dublin from US investment firm Kennedy Wilson for €13m. The price reflects a discount to the €17m which Savills quoted for it when they first brought the property to the market in 2017. Kennedy Wilson bought the offices in March 2016 for €14.4m from Hudson Advisors, which acted for US private equity firm Lone Star. Known as Samson House and The Arch, their net internal overall floor area extends to 39,826 sq. ft. Occupied by seven tenants, the properties generate combined gross passing rents of €1.192m pa from Hair Restoration, Medfit, Visor, Fincad and Kobo Software, Endeavour and IPSOS MRBI. The vendor also offered a guarantee on rent on the vacant floor in Block 4. The average rent for The Arch is approx. €27.85 per sq. ft NIA and the most recent letting there was €28.60 per sq. ft on an NIA basis in May 2022. A note on Remake’s website suggests that “the rate of return” was approx. 8.21%. It indicated a cost price of €14.52m. The Irish Independent, 4th May

South Mall, Cork RDJ is set to move back from its south suburban base to the most-recently built offices on the South Mall, at No. 85, developed in 2019 on a painstakingly assembled site. The move sees 170 existing jobs in RDJ’s Cork offices come back to the city’s traditional business, legal and property heartland, in the lower floors of a 45,000 sq. ft building developed by JCD Group in 2019. In its native Cork, RDJ is taking over the lease on the lower two floors from tenants cybersecurity firm Forcepoint, which did a multi-million euro fit-out at No. 85 just before the covid outbreak in 2020. The significant deal sees RDJ having the JCD Group as its new landlords at rents of approx. €30-€35/sq. ft, above the c €25/sq. ft it would have been paying in City Gate. The Irish Examiner, 3rd May

Docklands, Cork Savills is relocating to Penrose Dock along the quays, opting to take up to 4,000 sq. ft of newly upgraded, A-rated office space in a building. It is relocating 30 employees to Penrose House, part of the fully let Penrose Dock scheme by JCD Group next to Horgan’s Quay, Kent Train Station and the mixed HQ development on Cork’s north quays, anchored by Apple. The move from No. 11, owned by a private landlord, is expected to take place very shortly, with architects Wilsons responsible for the future-proofing and high energy rating retrofit of the historic Penrose House. The Irish Examiner, 3rd May



Mayor Street, Dublin 1 The Excise Building is being offered to the market through Sherry FitzGerald Commercial at a guide price of €2.9m on behalf of a consortium of private clients. The 10,541 sq. ft property occupies a prime location in the capital’s now-thriving financial district. The Korean pub and restaurant, Drunken Fish, occupies 9,262 sq. ft of the building over basement, ground and first floors, on a 20-year IRI lease that commenced on August 31st, 2015, with open-market rent reviews every five years at a current rent of €134.5k pa. 3fe Coffee occupies 1,278 sq. ft on a 20-year IRI lease that began on February 11th, 2022, with open-market rent reviews every five years at a current rent of €40k pa. The building is generating a total annual passing rent of €174.5k. The Irish Times, 3rd May



Tourism Industry Catherine Martin is continuing to “raise her concerns” with government colleagues about the possible €1bn impact on Ireland’s tourism industry due to the number of hotels beds being used to house refugees. It comes as Fáilte Ireland has been asked to identify areas likely to be worst impacted by reduced tourism spending and to make recommendations to “mitigate” those impacts. This is based on Fáilte Ireland’s calculation that for every €1 visitors spend on accommodation, they will spend €2.50 in other parts of local economies, such as local cafés, shops, galleries, restaurants, visitor attractions and activity providers. Several popular tourist counties now have over 50% of their tourist beds being used to house Ukrainian refugees and international protection applicants. They include Donegal, Longford and Leitrim, while another dozen counties have over 30% of their tourist beds allocated to refugees. The state is now paying for approx. 48,000 tourist beds, out of a total of 180,000 beds nationwide, for refugee accommodation. The Business Post, 8th May

Prem Group, the Dublin-based hotel operator behind the Premier Suites brand of serviced apartments, is “actively looking” to buy properties to house its staff to attract and retain workers amid soaring rents and elevated house prices, its chief executive Jim Murphy has said. The group, in which Fortress Investment Group took a majority stake in 2021, confirmed it has already acquired one property to accommodate workers in Killarney, Co Kerry, where it operates the four-star Cahernane House Hotel. The Irish Times, 8th May



Cabinteely, Dublin 18 A prime land holding within the grounds of Johnstown House in Cabinteely, Dublin 18, which is zoned for residential development, is being offered for sale by Kelly Walsh at a guide price of €5m. The Johnstown House holding extends to four acres of fully serviced agricultural lands with frontage on to Johnstown Road and Granville Road. Access to the site is provided via Johnstown Road. Under the current Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Development Plan 2022-2028, the subject lands are zoned Objective A, the purpose of which is to “provide residential development and improve residential amenity while protecting the existing residential amenities.” Johnstown House itself will remain under the ownership of its long-standing residents, the Holfeld family. The Irish Times, 3rd May

Knight Frank Report According to Knight Frank’s annual survey, 33% of developers report that it takes between seven to 12 months to receive a grant of planning permission from local authorities in Ireland. Appeals and judicial reviews are also adding significant time to the planning process, with 32% of developers believing that an appeal could add 11-15 months, while 46% report that a judicial review could add more than 21 months. Additionally, 92% of respondents believe that the residential zoned land tax will impact the viability of sites that fall within its scope. Despite the Irish government’s €1bn housing plan, 72% of developers report that recent interest rate increases and global banking sector turmoil will make the task of raising development finance even more difficult. Rising building material and labour costs remain a challenge, with 43% of respondents predicting annual building material and labour cost inflation will range between 7% to 9%, while 38% predict it will vary between 4% to 6%. The Irish Times, 3rd May

Ard Michael, Longford A ready-to-go site is coming to the market with full planning permission for 93 new homes in Longford town. Hooke & MacDonald is handling the sale of the development site at Ard Michael in the town, for which it is guiding €2.5m (€27k per unit). The property is situated in an established residential location on the southern side of Ballinalee Road, approx. 1 km east of Longford town centre. The property for sale comprises a prime residential development site of approx. 8.71 acres and has approx. 200 metres of frontage onto Ard Michael, with full planning permission for a scheme of 93 two and three-bedroom detached, semi-detached and terraced houses. The Business Post, 6th May

Spending on Housing Capital spending by the Department of Housing was 32.5% lower than planned for over the first four months of 2023 despite the unprecedented ongoing housing crisis, the latest exchequer figures show. While the exchequer returns showed booming tax receipts, accompanying documents record that €434m had been earmarked for spending on housing up until the end of April. However, just €293m of this was spent, €141m below profile. The Irish Times, 3rd May

Delgany, Co Wicklow Locals in the Co Wicklow village of Delgany are opposing plans by Beakonshaw Hill Ltd to build an apartment block scheme in the area. Beaksonshaw Hill Ltd lodged plans earlier this year with the council for 55 apartments and 30 houses for a site at Kindlestown House off Chapel Road, Delgany. The site abuts a new housing development, Churchlands, to the east which is currently under construction for approx. 120 homes. A decision is due on the application next week. The Irish Times, 3rd May

Vacant Site Levy A little over 1% of the €5.5m due under the vacant site levy in 2021 was collected, Department of Housing figures show. The levy was introduced in 2018 at a rate of 3% of the valuation of properties which were on local authority vacant site registers. The levy increased to 7% the following year. The latest progress report on collection of the levy showed that councils only collected levy charges for four sites in the State during 2021, with the revenue brought in amounting to just €75,425. This was despite 110 demands for the payment of levies throughout the State that year, with a total of €5.51m due. The records showed that nationally the percentage figure of land owners complying with the tax has been very low since its introduction. The figures dipped substantially when the levy was increased from 3% to 7%. There have been significant disparities between local authorities in terms of imposing the levy. A total of 12 councils do not have a vacant sites register and have never imposed a fine on any landowner. The Government is to replace the levy with a residential zoned land tax, which will see the rate revert to a lower 3% of the value of vacant land. The Irish Times, 8th May

Residential Zoned Land Tax An Bord Pleanála has to date received 611 objections to the inclusion of lands liable to the government’s new residential zoned land tax. The objections, which come from landowners, farmers, developers and retailers, have flooded into the planning board’s office over the past two weeks and will add to the board’s already swollen backlog of cases. There are 35,000 homes held up in the system. Local authorities started telling landowners from April 1 whether their properties would be liable for the tax. Landowners then had until May 1 to appeal the decisions to An Bord Pleanála (ABP). Under the statutory timeline for the tax, the final maps are due to be published on December 1 this year, which gives the planning board six months to rule on the appeals. The Sunday Times, 7th May



Property Values According to the MSCI benchmark published in conjunction with the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, Irish commercial investment property values declined by an average of 3.2% in Q1 2023. This is a slower pace of decline compared to the previous quarter, which saw a 4.5% decline. The annualized rate of decline also slowed to 9.4%, which is a welcome aspect of the index. The office sector remains the weakest, with values down 4% in the quarter and 11.5% over the past 12 months. Specifically, the value of 1980s offices fell 5.5% while those built in the 2000s declined by 3.6%. Dublin 2 offices, which have long been considered the prime Dublin office sector, saw the weakest performance in the sector with a 4.5% drop in Q1. In contrast, retail neighbourhood property was the best-performing retail sector, falling only 1.4% in Q1, while the overall retail sector declined by 2.3% in the quarter and 8.4% over 12 months. The Irish Independent, 4th May

Cash for Visa Scheme An insolvent cash-for-visa company owed €48m to loan note holders at the time it was put into liquidation by a creditor last month, the High Court heard on Monday. Huawen Foundation, owned and operated by Chinese businessman Kai Dai, helped foreign citizens to obtain Irish visas through Ireland’s Immigrant Investor Programme before the scheme was terminated by the Government earlier this year. Approx. €66m was transferred out of the company over its lifetime to other connected entities, the court heard last month. Its sole remaining asset was the issued share capital of Nuremore Hotel Management. This was the operating company behind the hotel and country club of the same name in Co Monaghan. On Monday, the Revenue Commissioners – to which Nuremore owes more than €682k in unpaid taxes – applied to have PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes confirmed as official liquidator to Nuremore, having previously been appointed as official liquidator to Huawen and provisional liquidator to Nuremore. The Irish Times, 8th May


If you have an article which you would like to have considered for inclusion in our next weekly report, please contact us at info@origincapital.ie

Origin Capital funds senior debt transactions in the CRE investment sector, typically in excess of €3m, and has lent over €200m to clients since April 2015.

Origin Capital is a wholly owned subsidiary of LeBruin, a leading provider of corporate finance solutions.

If you would like to discuss how Origin Capital can help with your funding requirements, please contact us on 01 662 9264.