Monday 23 January 2017

Blackstone in €950m deal to buy Blanchardstown Centre

Peter Flanagan Commercial Property Editor

Published 18/06/2016 | 02:30

Blanchardstown Centre
Blanchardstown Centre

Blackstone has completed a deal to take over the Blanchardstown Centre in one of the biggest property deals in the history of the state.

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The US private equity giant is believed to have paid Green Property at €950m for the centre.

The deal is expected to close this summer pending relevant regulatory approvals.

In a statement, Blackstone head of European Real Estate Anthony Myers said the deal was a "further investment by us in Dublin and underlines our commitment to Ireland and belief in the strength of its economy."

The finalising of the sale comes five months after Green Property put the centre on the market with a price tag of €1bn.

The US investment giant beat a number of competitors, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Joe O'Reilly's Chartered Land which was backed by Morgan Stanley.

Green Property, which is led by Stephen Vernon, has sold down a number of properties in recent months.

But Mr Vernon has insisted that he is not calling the "top" of the current property cycle.

Blackstone was named as preferred bidder for the shopping centre last month.

Blackstone - the world's biggest property investor - has bought extensively in Ireland since the crash but has been selling down most of its interests. It has flipped a number of office blocks in central Dublin and has also in the process of selling the former Burlington Hotel in the city. It also controls the Elysian Tower in Cork city.

The firm is widely expected to extend The Blanchardstown Centre eventually. There is capacity to build around 148,500 sq m (1.6 million sq ft) of additional space, made up of 93,000 sq m of retail, offices, leisure and 600-plus apartments, under a master development plan that governs the site. The centre has been the biggest retail centre in the country, since it opened in 1993 with more than 1.2 million sq ft of shopping space.

It has an annual footfall of more than 16 million people and a rent roll of approximately €50m per year. The existing development and lands covers 85 acres with up to 6,000 surface car parking spaces.

Green Property declined to comment on the sale.

Green Property is a separate company to the listed property investor Green Reit.

Blanchardstown is not the only Dublin shopping centre in the process of changing ownership. UK property firm Hammerson is in talks with Chartered Land to take control of the Dundrum Town Centre and other properties around Dublin. Hammerson and Allianz Real Estate paid about €1.6bn last year to buy the debt tied to Dundrum last year.

The retail specialist has indicated previously that it expects to formally have taken over the shopping centre before the end of this summer.

Irish Independent

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