Saturday 21 July 2018

Former Dragon's firm gets fired up over call centre

Clyde Real Estate has bought the BC1 unit at Ballycoolin Business Park. Unit BC2 is also for sale
Clyde Real Estate has bought the BC1 unit at Ballycoolin Business Park. Unit BC2 is also for sale

Donal Buckley

Clyde Real Estate, the company headed up by former Dragons' Den entrepeneur and Sunday Independent columnist Sean Gallagher, is progressing its activities at four locations around the country: Dublin, Dundalk, Cork and Carlow.

In Co. Louth it is in discussions with a large multinational manufacturing tenant which will see total refurbishment of the 73,000 sq ft former AFL facility in Finnabair IDA Park in Dundalk.

In Carlow, Mr Gallagher is in discussions with the IDA about the possibility of locating a potential advanced office building or an advanced technology building on the 30-acre former Braun site. One of Clyde's biggest projects, the firm is expected to accommodate a mixture of office and industrial properties on the site.

In Cork, Clyde has met with county council representatives about proposals to develop a further 120,000 sq ft of office/ technology workspace on a site at Lougmahon Technology Park, south east of Cork City.

Last summer Clyde sold the part of its 10.98-acre Loughmahon site which contains an existing 120,000 sq ft office building to a French investment fund Corum. It is let as VoxPro headquarters. Including all transaction expenses, the deal cost Corum about €17.5m. The actual sale price was not disclosed.

In Dublin this week Clyde brought a former call centre to the market with a €2.5m guide price. Known as unit BC1, Ballycoolin Business Park, Dublin 15, it is located next to Unit BC2, which IBM is selling with a €5.5m asking price.

Both properties were call centres occupied by IBM and Jarlath Lynn, of sales agents CBRE, says the timing of the sales is coincidental.

Together the two offer an opportunity for those seeking larger properties as the units had been interlinked.

BC1 extends to 42,551 sq ft on a 3.09-acre site while BC2 extends to 85,874 sq ft on 4.7 acres. Both are laid out as open-plan call centres with ancillary standard offices and facilities. Unit BC2 was vacated in December 2017 and is ready to occupy.

The properties could also be returned to industrial use subject to planning permission and could be converted to data centres, as there are four data centres within 500 metres and good fibre connectivity in the area. Both units can also be leased on new FRI leases. BC2 is likely to achieve a rent of around €500,000, but rents on BC1 would be a matter for negotiation.

With a current shortage of all types of industrial properties in the market and given that "they are both available to purchase at prices well below replacement costs", Mr Lynn expects offers from across a range of user types.

"Some occupiers may wish to continue the existing use of the buildings as office/ call centre space. It will be interesting to see what use will place the highest value on them," he adds.

Ballycoolin Business Park is the location for a number of businesses including Xerox, PayPal, Symantec and Keppel Data Centres.

Clyde was founded Mr Gallagher along with Waterford native Colm Piercy and it purchased a number of industrial, office and development properties in Dublin's suburbs and the regions after the crash.

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