Saturday 21 April 2018

Cairn turns attention to Adamstown home builds

Michael Stanley, chief executive of Cairn Homes
Michael Stanley, chief executive of Cairn Homes
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

CAIRN Homes expects to start construction work at its Adamstown site in west Dublin before the end of this year.

The home builder has bought up swathes of land banks around the capital over the past 18 months, but company chief executive Michael Stanley believes the company has effectively completed its buying for now.

"It's been a nine months with heavy activity with shareholders on fund raises and so on.

"That's all very time consuming and I think it's fair to say that the whole capital raising aspect of the business is finished now to some extent," he said.

Cairn has bought up several portfolios in recent times, in particular the €500m Project Clear portfolio of land banks from Ulster Bank, as well as a portfolio of sites which had been assembled by Argentum Proeprty Holdings and came with a reported price tag of €75m.

While the Clear portfolio is much larger, the Argentum deal gave Cairn access to a number of "shovel ready" sites around Dublin. "Argentum gives us a coupe of sites we can get active on," Mr Stanley said.

"The guys there were a bit further along in the planning process so sites like Griffith Avenue can be moved on quite quickly."

The Griffith Avenue property is a three-hectare site in north Dublin bought from the Christian Brothers. It has planning permission for 101 homes.

While Project Clear contained a mix of sites, Mr Stanley said there were a number of them - including Adamstown - that could be built on quickly.

"We will most likely start in Adamstown later this year, and there is also a site in Naas that we will look to get started on later in the year.

"What Clear gives us is a steady pipeline of some ready-to-go sites and some that are only a six or eight month planning process away from being ready to go.

"In some cases, the planning permission has lapsed and in others we don't feel the existing planning consent is the right consent and it needs to be changed," he added.

While some developers have been critical of the lack of financing available for home building at present, Cairn are funding their projects through equity.

One of the key parts of the market that need to get moving again is the sub-contractor space so that costs can be contained across the board, Mr Stanley warned.

"Sub-contractors are key. The bigger the project, the greater economies of scale and the cheaper building will be," he said.

Cairn Homes shares closed at €1.15 in London.

Irish Independent

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