Monday 23 July 2018

Dundrum developer O'Reilly bids for €1bn Blanchardstown Centre

Blanchardstown Centre in Dublin is Ireland’s biggest retail centre
Blanchardstown Centre in Dublin is Ireland’s biggest retail centre
Joe O’Reilly’s Chartered Land, Blackstone and another fund are all believed to be in race for the Blanchardstown Centre
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

DEVELOPER Joe O'Reilly is preparing to spend as much as €1bn in a bid to take control of the biggest shopping centre in the country.

Mr O'Reilly's Chartered Land is among the bidders for The Blanchardstown Centre in Dublin, along with US private equity giant Blackstone and a fund tied to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

Green Property put the shopping centre on the block in February. First round bids were submitted last week.

The centre has seen strong interest, particularly from overseas investors.

However, the Irish Independent understands that Chartered Land, Blackstone and CPPIB have proceeded to the second round of the process.

Chartered Land's offer comes as the company moves closer to losing control of the Dundrum Town Centre, which it developed. UK property giant Hammerson bought the loans tied to Dundrum last year. Hammerson is now in talks with Chartered Land over the future of that centre, and the UK firm expects to formally take control of the centre by this summer.

If Chartered Land wins the race for Blanchardstown it will maintain its position as one of the biggest players in the Irish retail market.

When Chartered Land paid €170m for the former Berkeley Court and Jurys Hotels in Ballsbridge last year, it was backed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

While Abu Dhabi is financing the Ballsbridge deal, US investor Starwood Capital is working with Chartered Land at the Elm Park development in south Dublin. It is expected that any deal for Blanchardstown will follow a similar arrangement with outside backers.

Blackstone has been one of the biggest buyers of commercial property in Ireland since the crash. It owns the former Burlington Hotel in Dublin and has bought and sold several office blocks around the city.

It also controls the Elysian Tower in Cork City. Blackstone has turned a profit of millions of euro on its Irish investments.

CPPIB's progress to the second round of the sale process will take some by surprise.

The firm manages the Canada Pension Plan - one of the main public pensions in that country.

It has no property investments of note in Ireland but is well known for investing in shopping centres around Europe. It has a 25pc share in the Westfield Stratford City centre in London - the biggest urban shopping centre in Europe - and also has a stake in Germany's biggest shopping centre, the Centro in Oberhausen.

Blanchardstown is the biggest retail centre in the country, with more than 1.2 million sq ft of shopping space.

The centre has an annual footfall of more than 16 million people and a rent roll of approximately €50m per year.

The existing development and lands covers 85 acres with up to 6,000 surface car parking spaces.

There is the capacity for development in the region of 148,500 sq m (1.6 million sq ft) comprising 93,000 sq.m of retail, offices, leisure and 600 plus apartments, under a master development plan that governs the site.

The sale process is being run by JLL and Eastdil Secured. Green Property, Blackstone, CPPIB and Chartered Land declined to comment on the matter.

Spokespeople for JLL and Eastdil Secured could not be reached for comment.

Irish Independent

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