Tuesday 19 March 2019

Johnny Ronan to secure major Cherrywood site

Johnny Ronan
Johnny Ronan
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Developer Johnny Ronan's Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) has entered into advanced negotiations with DLR Properties with a view to acquiring the Town Centre 3 (TC3) site at Cherrywood in south Dublin, the Irish Independent can reveal.

RGRE is understood to have fended off competition from Cherrywood's lead developer, Hines, and from UK-headquartered property giant, Balfour Beatty, to emerge as the preferred bidder for the site. The lands extend to an area of 5.3 hectares (13.1 acres) and will accommodate a new urban quarter comprising a range of developments extending to more than 120,770 sq m (1.3 million sq ft).

While Conor Whelan of QRE Real Estate Advisers didn't quote a guide price for the site when he put it up for sale on behalf of DLR Properties (a subsidiary of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council), it is understood the deal carries a value in the region of €40m.

Should RGRE secure the site, it will be required to provide DLR with a modern grade A-style office building with a long-term income stream in the greater Dublin area. Neither Mr Whelan nor RGRE and its agent, Evan Lonergan, of Knight Frank, were prepared to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent.

Bold vision: Developer Johnny Ronan is on the brink of acquiring the Town Centre 3 (TC3) site at Cherrywood in south Dublin
Bold vision: Developer Johnny Ronan is on the brink of acquiring the Town Centre 3 (TC3) site at Cherrywood in south Dublin

The master plan for TC3, prepared by Scott Tallon Walker in advance of its sale, provides for a large office element extending to more than 74,320 sq m (800,000 sq ft). Residential units will occupy a further 33,444 sq m (360,000 sq ft) and the balance of the buildings will be in retail and community use. The residential buildings are expected to accommodate around 358 apartments. The framework also provides for up to 1,900 car parking spaces. The site is bounded to the east by the Luas Green Line and also includes the Brides Glen Luas terminus.

Market sources said yesterday that they would expect RGRE to deliver a scheme at Cherrywood to rival and even overtake Central Park, the hugely-successful office campus originally developed in 1999 by Treasury Holdings, the property vehicle Ronan headed up with Richard Barrett.

Now owned by Green Reit, Central Park is currently acknowledged as one of the foremost suburban office locations in Dublin. With 79,000 sq m (850,000 sq ft) of office space, the Leopardstown development is home to a number of leading companies including Vodafone, AIB, Salesforce, Sage, Hostelworld and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Separately, the Irish Independent can reveal that bidding on the 73 acres of Cherrywood development land Savills is marketing on behalf of Hines and King Street Capital has entered into a third round. It is understood US real estate giant Lone Star, developer Sean Mulryan's Ballymore, and publicly-listed builders, Glenveagh Properties, and Cairn Homes are among the parties that remain in contention. A spokesman for Hines declined to comment on the matter when contacted by this newspaper.

Hines and King Street Capital acquired the overall 412-acre Cherrywood site and its business park for €270m in 2014. Some €145m of that initial outlay was recouped early last year following Hines' sale of eight office blocks at Cherrywood Business Park to San Francisco-headquartered Spear Street Capital. The details of the 'off-market' deal were exclusively revealed at the time by the Irish Independent.

As Cherrywood's lead developer, Hines is currently involved in the delivery with its Dutch partners, APG Asset Management, of 1,269 build-to-rent (BTR) apartments at the scheme's 2.1m sq ft town centre.

Upon completion, the overall Cherrywood development will comprise in excess of 8,000 homes, accommodating upwards of 30,000 people.

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