Tuesday 24 October 2017

New fund to develop in south docklands

Special fund set up for docks investment

A special new fund, the South Docks Fund, which will invest in the development of Dublin dockland properties, has been announced by a consortium lead by a US investment manager, as well as NAMA and the Irish construction and development firm Bennett Group.

The move almost coincided with the flotation today of the country's first real estate investment trust on the stock markets in London and Dublin.

Stephen Vernon of Green Property has raised more than €300 million for the Green REIT following strong international institutional investor interest in the REIT. Both the tax efficient Green REIT and the unrelated South Docks Fund (SDF) will provide a filip to the Irish investment market which should help to sustain the investment momentum after the capital gains tax holiday ends in December this year.

SDF is being established as a Qualified Investment Fund (QIF) which will be confined to a select group of investors. QIFs usually have less onerous reporting requirements than stock exchange REITs.

Los Angeles based Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. will be the investment manager of SDF and together with NAMA, and Bennett group will combine their sites at Hanover Quay and Sir John Rogerson Quay, near Grand Canal Harbour in order to create a site which would have the potential for up to 50,000sqm of new buildings.

The NAMA site at Hanover Quay is behind the offices of legal firm Mathesons. This site originally belonged to DDDA but was acquired by NAMA as part of a settlement with DDDA about a year ago.

NAMA previously signalled that it intends to work with IDA on plans to develop offices in docklands.

Meanwhile developers are also waiting on Dublin City Council to finalise its Strategic Development Zone guidelines for fast tracking development projects in docklands.

SDF is a sub-fund of Targeted Investment Opportunities plc, an umbrella fund with segregated limited liability between sub-funds of which Oaktree is the investment manager and Bennett Property Limited is the property manager. NAMA will be a minority shareholder in the sub-fund. Justin Bickle, managing director of Oaktree commented:

"We are delighted to provide the capital necessary to facilitate the creation of world class office and mixed use facilities with our investment and construction partners. Ireland's business-friendly environment, track record for innovation, and talented workforce continue to attract high calibre companies from around the world.

We and Bennett Group look forward to working with NAMA to play our part in the economic resurgence of the South Docks in the coming years."

Brendan McDonagh, CEO of NAMA also commented:

"The Dublin Docklands continues to be of strategic importance in creating local jobs and encouraging overseas investors into Ireland.

"Our QIF shareholding alongside major international investment firm Oaktree, and Bennett Group, one of Ireland's well known property and construction firms, is a welcome first step towards unlocking the significant potential of the South Docks for future development and provides further confirmation of an increase in international and domestic investor confidence in Ireland.

Irish Independent

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