Friday 20 September 2019

Property group's 'Dublin Living' housing sale hit by 11th-hour title snag

Developer Pat Crean is working to perfect the title at one of four sites

An artist’s impression of the Mount Argus apartments in Harold’s Cross, one of four developments in Marlet’s €450m ‘Dublin Living’ portfolio
An artist’s impression of the Mount Argus apartments in Harold’s Cross, one of four developments in Marlet’s €450m ‘Dublin Living’ portfolio
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

A BID by the Marlet Property Group to sell a portfolio of 1,205 apartments under development in Dublin to a major international investor - in a deal estimated to be worth in the region of €450m - has come up against a potential 11th-hour obstacle.

While the company is reported to be in the final stages of selling the 'Dublin Living' portfolio to London-based Round Hill Capital, the Sunday Independent has learned that an issue has arisen with the title at one of the sites that form part of the proposed deal.

Former Kerry estate agent turned developer Pat Crean
Former Kerry estate agent turned developer Pat Crean

The overall portfolio comprises 1,205 apartments distributed across four sites at St Clare's and Mount Argus in Harold's Cross, Carriglea on the Naas Road and the Cabra Road.

The potential problem for Marlet has arisen at the St Clare's site and relates to a small strip of land which, according to records held at the Land Registry, actually forms part of the adjacent Parkview Mansions apartment development.

This is despite the fact that it has been bounded by a wall within the grounds of the former St Clare's convent for several decades.

The Sunday Independent understands that Marlet's chief executive, the former Kerry estate agent turned developer Pat Crean (inset) has been engaging through an intermediary with the representatives of Parkview residents over the past number of weeks in a bid to resolve what he describes as a "mapping error".

It is understood that as part of those efforts, Crean recently made a written offer of €20,000 to the residents "as consideration" for the Deed of Transfer for the piece of land. That offer is believed to have been rejected at an EGM convened by Parkview's management company at a hotel in Dublin city centre last Thursday night.

While it would be open to Marlet to pursue a claim for adverse possession of the land, the company would need to establish that it, or its predecessors in title, had enjoyed exclusive use of the property for a minimum of 12 years in order to prove its case.

While a spokesman for Marlet Property Group declined to comment on the matter, a source close to the situation insisted that it would be resolved on amicable terms and with no requirement for litigation.

It is understood that Pat Crean made contact with representatives of Parkview's management company last Friday evening and that a meeting has been now been arranged between the parties for tomorrow to discuss a possible resolution to the issue. The same source said: "This won't be an impediment to the 'Dublin Living' sale. It will be sorted out."

Marlet Property Group put the 'Dublin Living' portfolio on the market last June for an asking price of €425m.

Round Hill Capital, which reportedly is in the process of agreeing a deal for a sum in the region of €450m, is understood to have seen off rival bids from US-based Greystar, Tristan Capital and Ivanhoe Cambridge.

Upon its expected completion, the deal will represent Ireland's biggest single sale of a private rental sector portfolio, according to Domhnall O'Sullivan of selling agents Savills Ireland.

Based on current rental values for multi-family apartment schemes in the Dublin suburbs, Savills estimates that the equivalent net rental yield from the 'Dublin Living' portfolio would be in the region of €20.5m.

With the four apartment schemes due for completion on a phased basis between the second half of 2018 and the early part of 2020, that estimate is expected to grow significantly during the construction period due to the ongoing and chronic under-supply of private rented accommodation in Dublin.

The four developments will consist mainly of two-bed units (750), along with 255 one-beds and 165 three-beds.

Mount Argus in Harold's Cross will consist of 180 apartments, while St Clare's will accommodate 220 units.

The Carriglea scheme will have 362 apartments while the Cabra Road site will be the largest development of the four sites, with 408 apartments.

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