In what is seen as a major step towards a property sell-off, Irish Nationwide Building Society has appointed DTZ Sherry FitzGerald to advise on a property asset management strategy for the society's former branches and other properties in its ownership.
The portfolio includes 48 branch offices as well as its Grand Canal Parade headquarters in Dublin 6, which were valued at €45.7m at the beginning of 2009.
In addition, there are a number of development and investment properties owned by INBS and these include some apartments in its Booterstown Wood development as well as houses in Dartmouth Square near its Dublin 6 headquarters. With its network of agents in Sherry Fitzgerald countrywide, DTZ saw off competition from the four other estate agents which competed for the INBS business.
DTZ's first task will be to inspect each property, review title deeds and INBS tenants' leases, before advising on the strategy for the individual properties.
A spokesperson for the INBS said that following consideration of this advice, INBS may decide to dispose of, or to let, the property as appropriate.
"The overall instruction to DTZ is to maximise the value of the INBS property portfolio for the tax payer in the short to medium term," she added.
Most of the INBS branches are located on high streets in Dublin as well as in a number of provincial cities and towns. There is also a freehold property on Wigmore Street in London.
One of the key decisions facing DTZ will be whether to sell The Grand Parade head office on its original site or to combine it with the extensive former McLaughlin and Harvey site to its rear that fronts onto Dartmouth Road.
This site is also owned by INBS, as are some of the period houses backing onto the site and fronting on to Dartmouth Square.
Its O'Connell Bridge branch in Dublin 1 is likely to be the first to sell as its high-profile would appeal to fast food franchise operators and some suggest it might even achieve €2m.