Sunday 4 December 2016

Mulryan's Dublin docks foray is a vote of confidence in economy

Published 02/10/2016 | 02:30

Ballymore and Oxley Holdings will launch the Dublin Landings development this week. Above, the city as seen from Capital Docks, which is currently being developed by Kennedy Wilson
Ballymore and Oxley Holdings will launch the Dublin Landings development this week. Above, the city as seen from Capital Docks, which is currently being developed by Kennedy Wilson

Developer Sean Mulryan is set to make a return to these shores on Thursday with the launch by the Ballymore Group and its joint venture partners, Singapore-based Oxley Holdings, of its €111m Dublin Landings commercial and residential development in the city's docklands.

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Mulryan, who has stated his determination to exit Nama by the end of this year with his companies' estimated €2.6bn debt to the agency repaid in full, will be joined for the occasion by his son John, who works as Ballymore's UK managing director, and Oxley's executive chairman and CEO, Ching Chiat Kwong.

Located next to the Central Bank's new headquarters, the Dublin Landings development is set to extend to over 1m sqft. The first phase of the project got under way earlier this year and will see the construction of two office blocks at 72-80 North Wall Quay.

All told, the development, which is being funded through a mix of Oxley's own financial resources and bank borrowings, will, upon completion, consist of approximately 678,000 sqft of office space and 270 apartments, each one of which will come with its own car parking and bicycle space.

Nama, and by extension the Irish taxpayer, is set to benefit from the development owing to the State agency's decision to retain the freehold interest in the land. As well as receiving a secure income stream once the 2.35 hectare site has been developed and let, Nama also stands to receive a percentage of the future proceeds arising from the sale of any of the Dublin Landings buildings.

Mulryan's determination to work with Oxley to create a significant new quarter in Dublin's docklands saw the recent appointment of the former artistic director of the Gate Theatre, Michael Colgan, as Dublin Landings culture and arts adviser. Colgan has worked with Ballymore in the past, providing Mulryan with advice on theatre and culture in Berlin when the Ballymore Group owned the Ku'Damm-Karree shopping centre on the famous Kurfurstendamm boulevard.

Ballymore's return to large-scale commercial development in Dublin will be viewed by industry observers as something of a bellwether for the strength of the ongoing economic recovery. Notwithstanding its commencement in recent years of a number of housing developments in Dublin and Kildare, the group has limited its involvement in the Irish market, choosing instead to focus on the numerous sites Mulryan shrewdly acquired in London's docklands in the early 1990s at a time when the area had been left to fall into decay.

The development and sale of those sites has allowed Ballymore to repay its Nama debt, and has seen the group receive numerous industry awards. The latest of these came in July, with Ballymore named Large Developer of the Year at Property Week magazine's RESI awards.

Sunday Independent

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