PWC receivers could rescue ghost office sites
Pricewaterhouse receivers are taking a proactive approach to adding value to two development properties which were in danger of becoming Celtic Tiger eyesores. One is attempting to rescue a Dublin 2 office building which was facing demolition and he is now seeking to sell it or let it.
The insolvency team at Pricewaterhousecoopers have cleaned up McConnell House in Charlemont Place, which developers Jerry O'Reilly and Bernard McNamara had earmarked as the site for a 6,719sqm office development rising from two to eight storeys.
Located beside Charlemont Luas station and the Hilton Hotel, the existing building has a floor area of 1647.39sqm and five floors with floor plates ranging in size from 227sqm to 395sqm.
The agents HTMOR are offering it for sale in its current grey condition or to let refurbished on a floor by floor basis.
Agent Robert Fay says it has already attracted interest from possible tenants and developers. "It's difficult to put a value on the property in its current condition and in the current market. We are just testing the waters," he adds.
If the building attracts strong developer interest then the receiver would be spared the expense of refurbishing the property. However if the interest is stronger from the office tenants then the receiver would have to invest in a refurbishment including new windows and a mechanical and electrical fit out. When refurbished to the current standards it might achieve rents of €20 to €25 per sq ft being quoted for offices in the area.
In 2009 a McNamara and O'Reilly company, Grattanlane, received permission to construct a replacement office building with 6,719sqm or about four times the office space, as well as a ground floor café but that was on a larger site than that under the control of the receiver.
Meanwhile PWC partner Billy O'Riordan, receiver of a Liam Carroll site in Dublin's docklands, has received planning permission for three office blocks after the planning inspector recommended the project be refused permission.
Mr O'Riordan, receiver of Danninger, expects the approval to enhance the saleability of the site at Castleforbes Road/ Mayor St, which at one time was earmarked for a Bank of Ireland offices, though he cautioned that it may take time before it's sold. Bord Pleanala's inspector had recommended that the 32,000sqm seven-storey development should be refused because he considered it an overdevelopment of the site. Nevertheless the board approved the project while reducing its scale.