Commercial Property

Saturday 26 July 2014

Marathon wins race for €120m Heuston SQ loans

Peter Flanagan and Donal Buckley

Published 17/07/2014|00:00

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Marathon Asset Management has bought loans tied to the Heuston South Quarter

New York-based Marathon Asset Management has bought the loans associated with Dublin development Heuston South Quarter for around €120m from Lloyds Banking Group.

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The HSQ loans went on the market in May with a guide price of €100m. Kennedy Wilson and Northwood Investors were the under bidders.

Savills has been appointed to sell the underlying property, which includes 264 fully let flats, 80,000 sq ft of office space and around 78,000 sq ft of mixed commercial and retail space, including a supermarket. Internet giant AOL is the main commercial tenant at the site the development, which is beside Heuston Station, It has a gross annual income of €7.5m, of which close to 60pc is residential. hatigan Commercial Developments and Shoreview Properties developed the site but Grant Thornton were hired as receivers in 2012.

According to Estates Gazette, which first reported the sale, Marathon has around £6.5bn of assets under management.

The firm bought The Obel, Northern Ireland's tallest building, for £20m, in May this year.

The move came as receiver Paul McCann, who controls the site near Heuston Station, has moved for a substantial change to plans for the development of the remaining 3.63 acres of the partly completed project.

He has dropped previous plans for a hotel and instead has focused most of the development application on offices and apartment blocks.

The new application is for 16,565 sqm of offices, 565 sqm of retail, a 1,099 sqm fitness centre, 4,187 sqm of multi-purpose cultural space, a 348 sqm childcare facility and 14,111 sq m of flats. The latter will consist of 126 apartments of which 21 will be one beds, 79 two beds and 26 three beds.

A similar change from hotel to office use coincidentally was submitted in the last week from another receiver, Declan Taite, who controls the Elm Park development on the Merrion Road, Dublin 4.

Both applications are aimed at attracting developers who are looking to buy projects which have been through the planning process.

Mr McCann's application for Heuston South Quarter (HSQ), opposite Heuston Station in Dublin 8, would allow the development to be completed over a 10 year time frame.

His initiative comes shortly after he commissioned Savills to sell loans which the developer, Shoreview Properties Ltd, secured against HSQ assets. Initially it was expected that the loans might fetch around €100 million and that the remainder of the development might be less than 19,000 sq m.

Since then both targets have been revised upwards. The previous planning permission for the site has expired but any purchaser may consider the possibility of retaining the hotel plans as it has also attracted enquiries from hotel operators.

HSQ already contains existing offices, apartments and retail units which are producing a combined income of €7.5 million.

A major portion, or €4.33m, is being generated from 264 of the 343 apartments which have already been built on the site. The asset against which the loans are secured include 7,456 sq m of effectively fully let Grade A office accommodation and 7,285 sq m of mixed use commercial accommodation, including a supermarket.

Internet company AOL has been occupying 25,000 sq ft in the development's landmark Brunel office building for about three years. This building extends to 70,000 sq ft and the remainder of it is expected to be let to two tenants in the near future. One of these has agreed to take a further 30,000 sq ft.

Letting agents Knight Frank have also been quoting €25 per sq ft for 10 own door office units at HSQ with a combined 20,000 sq ft of space.

Mr McCann, of Grant Thornton, was appointed receiver by Bank of Scotland (Ireland).

Meanwhile, Declan Taite, receiver of Radora Developments Ltd, has applied to convert one of the vacant Elm Park buildings, near Tara Towers Hotel to offices. He has asked Dublin City Council to allow a change of use for Block HH from its existing permitted hotel and private hospital uses.

It is one of four office buildings as well as a number of apartment blocks which were developed at Elm Park by Radora Developments, a joint venture between Bernard McNamara and Jerry O'Reilly.

Block HH has a gross floor area of 20,094 sq m, and is the best positioned of the Elm Park buildings as its frontage onto Merrion Road offers the prospect of high profile visibility to thousands of commuters.

Mark Smyth CBRE says the receiver's application has come in response to an increased level of enquiries in the Dublin office market for larger amounts of Grade A office accommodation.

Two of other Elm Park office blocks are occupied, one of them is let to Novartis and the other to insurance firm Allianz.

A third, which is owned separately by F&C, the investment arm of Friends First, is seeking a tenant for at least 20,000 sq ft and its agent Lisney is quoting a rent of €22 per sq ft.

Mr Taite has been working on renovating numerous properties in roder to secure a better sale price when they are eventually brought to market.

He has already refurbished a number of houses known as Landaff Terrace to the front of the Elm Park site, and he has let all of these, including one to a coffee shop.

Some of the Elm Park apartments were bought by private buyers during the boom.

Mr Taite has also recently received permission to enhance the value of another development by adding four extra apartments at the Mill 2 block of the Dock Mill apartment development on Barrow Street, near the Google offices in the heart of the Dublin docklands.

Propety in that area has been flying for sometime, with residential units in the Grand CAnal Dock area commanding a premium due to the large numbers of highly paid, and highly mobile, tech workers looking to be based in that area. at the moment.

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