Thursday 26 April 2018

Decision looms for CIE on Dublin dockland schemes

CIE is seeking to unlock the development potential of lands it has in the Dublin docklands
CIE is seeking to unlock the development potential of lands it has in the Dublin docklands
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Several big names drawn from the ranks of Ireland's 'old school' and 'new wave' of property developers are in the running to partner with CIE on the delivery of two major office-led schemes at Connolly Station and Grand Canal Quay in Dublin.

The selection of development partners for both projects will be down for decision at the end of February when the board of CIE convenes for its regular monthly meeting. Directors at the State transport company will be asked to consider tender proposals from upwards of a dozen parties for both Connolly Quarter in the IFSC and Boston Sidings in the city's rapidly-emerging south docks.

In the case of the Connolly Quarter, US-headquartered real estate giant Hines' Irish subsidiary, Hines Ireland, has submitted what several property industry sources described as a "very strong proposal", and is being viewed as a serious contender in the competition for the delivery of CIE's plans for the 3.2 hectare (7.9 acre) site it has next to Connolly Station.

Upon completion, the scheme for which CIE received a 10-year planning permission in 2012, is expected to include almost 82,000 sq m (883,000 sq ft) of mixed-use space, comprising 50,000 sq m (540,000 sq ft) of offices, a hotel, and apartments

The single largest office space element of the scheme is an up to seven-storey, 13,450 sq m (145,000 sq ft) block at the junction of Seville Place and the construction of a new street which will link Seville Place and Sheriff Street Lower.

Developer Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Properties, Johnny Ronan's Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE), and Tony Leonard and Paddy McKillen's Clarendon Properties are understood to be among six parties with proposals for the development of the Boston Sidings site, which will be considered by the board of CIE. Located next to Grand Canal Dart Station, the 0.87 hectare (2.15 acre) site is expected to accommodate up to 11,148 sq m (120,000 sq ft) of office space upon completion.

Boston Sidings derives its name from the site's use by CIE over many years as sidings for its train services. With the State transport group no longer requiring the land for that purpose, it decided last year to seek a developer partner with a view to unlocking its development potential.

While the site's proximity to the operations of tech giants Google and Facebook, Accenture, and law firm Mason Hayes & Curran makes it attractive to potential occupiers, the developer will be required as a condition of building the scheme to provide CIE with a premium rent which could amount to more than €1m per annum, a 10pc share of the rent roll, or whichever is the greater.

CIE has already been involved in several successful partnerships in the Dublin docklands with developer Johnny Ronan. It is also partnering with RGRE on the development of the Aqua Vetro Tower next to Tara Street station.

While Ronan's proposal for the 22-storey building was rejected last year by Dublin City Council, the developer is awaiting a ruling from An Bord Pleanala on his appeal of the decision.

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