Wednesday 22 November 2017

Over 1,200 apartments in South Dublin to be offered to rental market only

A computer-generated image of the proposed Cherrywood town centre in Dublin
A computer-generated image of the proposed Cherrywood town centre in Dublin

Ronald Quinlan Commercial Property Editor

US real estate giant Hines has submitted plans for the first phase of over 8,000 homes at Ireland's newest town centre in Cherrywood in south county Dublin.

The construction of 1,269 apartments is included in the proposal along with the provision of shops, restaurants, cafés and community facilities.

Those looking for an opportunity to buy their own home will however be disappointed to learn that the first tranche of Cherrywood's residential units will be offered as Build-to-Rent (BTR) only, meaning they will not be offered for sale individually.

Asked if the apartments would be offered for sale to institutional investors either before or after their construction, a spokesman for Hines declined to comment.

All told, the planning application lodged this week refers to the development of some 2.1m sq ft of space at Cherrywood.

Pending planning approval, construction of the new town centre is expected to take three years to complete, with 3,000 construction workers employed over the course of the various build stages. Hines says it hopes to commence construction in the second quarter of 2018.

Cherrywood Town Centre will eventually be home to over 3,200 people, with the potential to accommodate 2,300 office staff and provide employment for more than 2,500 retail workers.

The wider €2bn Cherrywood development is expected to house in the region of 30,000 people across its 412 acres by the time it is fully delivered.

The current 3,000-strong workforce at the existing Cherrywood Business Park is expected to potentially treble within the next 10 to 15 years as Ireland's newest suburb takes shape.

Construction on the south Dublin site has already been well advanced by Hines, the other Cherrywood landowners and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

The key preparatory phase of the Cherrywood development - a €160m project to deliver three flagship parks and 5.4km of roadways, pedestrian footpaths, cycle paths and greenways, as well as the planting of over 3,000 new trees - has been under way since the beginning of this year.

This work is progressing on schedule and is due for completion in Spring 2018.

Cherrywood's proposed town centre will be built alongside the newly-created Tully Park, which is currently under construction and equivalent in size to St Stephen's Green. In terms of its accessibility, Cherrywood Town Centre will be constructed on an elevated site integrating the existing Luas stops of Cherrywood and Bride's Glen.

It will also be served by new bus routes to complement existing Dublin Bus services into the area as well as a bus link to Shankill Dart station.

The town will also have two new large underground car parks, 2,600 bicycle spaces, and over 150 charging points for electric vehicles.

The pedestrian and bike-friendly town centre will include covered and open public spaces, and will be served by numerous shops, bars, restaurants, a hotel and other leisure facilities.

Hines Ireland senior managing director Brian Moran, said: "The new town centre will be the beating heart of Cherrywood and the centrepiece of our vision for a dynamic living, shopping and amenity-rich urban environment serving thousands of new families, workers and visitors in the wider town."

The Build-to-Rent boom

While Build-to-Rent (BTR) is a long-established sector of property markets internationally, it is a relatively new phenomenon here.

Its popularity with institutional investors such as pension funds is understandable as the rental incomes derived from letting residential units in large numbers provide steady returns over many years, and through the peaks and troughs of economic cycles.

A recent analysis by CBRE suggested that around €33.3bn of equity is targeting the UK's BTR sector currently.

The sector's potential was shown earlier this year with developer Pat Crean's Marlet Property Group seeking forward-funding proposals for 1,170 apartment across four Dublin schemes.

The 'Dublin Living' portfolio is being marketed to investors at €425m, and promises to deliver annual rental income of €20.5m for its eventual buyer.

Ires Reit is Ireland's biggest private residential landlord currently, with some 2,377 apartments spread across numerous Dublin developments. US real estate giants Kennedy Wilson are also significant landlords in the market with 2,100 units either built or under construction.

It recently stated its aim to have 5,000 homes for rent in Ireland in the future.

Irish Independent

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