Wednesday 22 October 2014

Central Bank puts its iconic Temple Bar headquarters on market ahead of move

Published 15/06/2014 | 02:30

The Central Bank building in Temple Bar.
The Central Bank building in Temple Bar.

THE CENTRAL Bank has started the early stages of a sale process for its iconic headquarters in the heart of Temple Bar, as well as three other sites owned by the Financial Regulator.

The Regulator has hired estate agent Lisneys to handle the deal, after opting not to hold on to the premises known as the Tower Building once it moves offices – a move set for 2016.

The Dame Street building should fetch upwards of €25m, according to sources. It benefits from extensive underground car parking, but potential buyers may be put off by congestion in the surrounding area, the property's outdated design and negative publicity generated by the Occupy the Central Bank' movement, one person said.

"Due regard will be given to the public interest and maximising the return to the Central Bank," said a spokeswoman.

The Central Bank has resided there since early 1980. Designed by well-known architect Sam Stephens, it dominates the Temple Bar skyline and attracted heavy criticism when first built after exceeding height restrictions.

The Financial Regulator owns three other premises on Dame Street in addition to the Tower Building which it also intends to sell. It also leases premises at Spencer Dock in the Docklands and at Iveagh Court near Harcourt Street in Dublin 2, which will also be divested.

Plans to develop its new home, meanwhile, are gathering pace. Management are in the middle of securing a primary contractor for the half-built site in the IFSC which it acquired from the now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank. The skeleton of the building has sat untouched since 2008, when Anglo went into liquidation. It is expected to cost around €140m to complete.

The project is on track, the Central Bank has confirmed, and completion and occupancy are still expected in 2016. This will involve moving some 1,400 staff.

This area of Dublin, which has remained barren since the crash, hit the headlines in recent weeks amid a surge of activity.

A 2.35 hectare site adjacent to the former Anglo building was recently put up for tender by Nama, a process rarely used by the bad debt agency to sell asssets.

Surprisingly, only the leasehold is being offered for sale. This means that the buyer will have the right to develop, manage and realise the site, but Nama will retain the freehold interest, and will continue to draw ground rent on the property.

Sunday Indo Business

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