Friday 30 September 2016

Blackstone flips prime docklands buildings barely two years after buying from Nama

The home of the Labour Party in the heart of Googleland is guiding €130m but could fetch more

Published 27/09/2015 | 02:30

The iconic Bloodstone building in Dublin's docklands
The iconic Bloodstone building in Dublin's docklands

Private equity giant Blackstone has put two of the most high-quality office blocks in Dublin up for sale, less than two years after it bought them from Nama, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

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The eight-storey Bloodstone building in the heart of the Dublin docklands and neighbouring Central Quay building are being sold by agent Lisney. The properties have a guide price of around €130m.

They are located on the South Dock of Sir John' Rogerson's Quay, seconds away from Facebook and around the corner from Google.

The buildings, which are considered to be two of Ireland's most valuable office blocks, were originally developed by Sean Dunne.

Blackstone bought them from Nama in late 2013. They came as part of a portfolio of three properties called the Platinum Portfolio, which also included Hume House in Ballsbridge. Blackstone reportedly paid €100m for the three properties. Hume House is not being sold.

Most of the tenants of Bloodstone and Central Quay are foreign technology businesses. But Bloodstone is also home to the headquarters of the Labour Party, which moved there following the sale of its old Ely Place headquarters to the Sligo-based McHale Farm Machinery for around €800,000.

Blackstone has reaped hundreds of millions in profit through buying up distressed Irish assets in the wake of the recession, only for their value to significantly appreciate in a matter of months as the Irish economy recovered.

The company has sold several of these assets in recent months, including its 25pc stake in telco Eir and its 25pc stake in the Jury's and Berkeley Court hotels.

Blackstone made an estimated €375m profit selling most of its Eir stake to hedge fund Anchorage Capital.

In Ireland recently to launch a Blackstone-funded university entrepreneurship programme, Blackstone chief executive Steve Schwarzman said his company had had a "good experience" in Ireland.

"We have a programme called 'buy it, fix it, sell it'. That's what we do. If markets go up in addition, then we tend to do very well," he said.

The Blackstone boss said that in Ireland it was in the 'fix it' stage, rather than 'sell it'.

The sale of its Bloodstone and Central Quay buildings comes at a time when commercial property prices in the capital are thought to be overheating.

Office rents for the top areas of Dublin currently stand at about €52.50 per square foot.

That is an increase of more than 50pc in just over two years. Analysts believe that rents may go as high as €70 per square foot in the coming year as the market for new space is so tight.

Sunday Indo Business

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