Tuesday 20 February 2018

The Battle of Ballsbridge set to return as bid deadlines near

A rendering of the proposed redevelopment of the former Berkeley Court and Jurys Hotels in Ballsbridge
A rendering of the proposed redevelopment of the former Berkeley Court and Jurys Hotels in Ballsbridge

Donal Buckley

Some lucky developers may not get time off for the traditional builders' holidays at the end of July as the battles to succeed Sean Dunne for the title, Baron of Ballsbridge, comes to a head.

Tomorrow will see best bids submitted for a 3.7 acre development site with four vacant office blocks combining 10,000 sq m of floor space at AIB Bank Centre in Ballsbridge.

Receiver William O'Riordan of PwC and his agents Knight Frank and Eastdil Secured have declined to offer guidance on the price but there has been speculation that it could sell for over €50m or only a quarter of what Mr Dunne paid for it in 2006. That €50m price tag would equate to €13.5m per acre.

Meanwhile agents Savills are working through the short list of developers who are reported to have submitted bids for Project Trinity the 6.8 acre property which is home to the Ballsbridge and Clyde hotels, formerly Jurys and Berkeley Court.

The short list is believed to include Cairn Homes, Paddy McKillen, Chartered Land, Capstone as well as London and Regional. Savills had guided €120m which is less than a third of the €379m paid by Dunne for the two hotels. If it were to make the €120m in the next few weeks, that would equate to over €17.6m per acre.

Meanwhile developers will be waiting to see if Nama may offer a partnership or licenced development deal on the Boland Mills site where the state agency recently received planning permission for three new landmark buildings overlooking Grand Canal Dock.

The project could accommodate over 25,000 sq. m. of offices, 42 apartments as well as retail, leisure and cultural space. Asked if NAMA might consider selling the site, rather than develop it itself, a spokesperson said the agency is considering all options.

Signs of the growing developer activity is reflected in research by Marie Hunt of CBRE which shows that 54 individual development land sales completed in the first six months of this year, totalling €276m between them.

"This compares with approximately €203m of transactional activity completed in the development land market during the same period last year," she added.

The biggest of the second quarter deals was Cairn Homes plc acquisition of 8.11 acres Marionella residential site in Rathgar, Dublin 6 which is reported to sold for between €42 and €43m or about €5.2m per acre. It came with planning permission for 199 apartments and 12 five-bedroom semi-detached houses and there are expectations that it may add a further 40 units to the development. Cairns also bought two sites in Carrickmines spanning just 9.1 acres, most of them off Brennanstown Road for a combined €20.7m. or €2.27m per acre.

In the South Docklands the developer New Generation did a deal which is reportedly worth €40m to purchase An Post's 2.3-acre sorting office property at Cardiff Lane near the Maldron Hotel.

This could equate to a gargantuan €17.4m per acre. It will see the postal service receive a new 20,000 sq ft premises at Ravensdale Road, East Wall. New Generation is reported to have paid €1.9m for the 1.75-acre East Wall site which was marketed by Allsop.

Also on the northside DTZ Sherry FitzGerald have gone sale agreed on a 0.88 acre site at 59-60 Clontarf Road which has planning permission for 15 townhouses and a block with a retail unit and four overhead apartments. The guide price was €4m.

Rising house prices in the commuter belt have also been reflected in the market. For instance a 7.76 acre residential zoned site at Maynooth Road, Celbridge, Co Kildare, sold at tender through Jordan Chartered Surveyors for well in excess of its €3.5m guide price.

A ready to go 12.5 acre Balbriggan site with full planning for 76 semis and 23 detached houses sold for well over €4m. or more than €40,000 per site. Agents Knight Frank had been guiding €3.5m. for the site which is located on the Naul Road to the west of the town.

The same agents are going to best bids this week for a 6.32 acre ready to go site at Milltown, Ashbourne, Co. Meath, which has full planning permission for 44 four bedroom houses of which 30 can be detached and the guide price is €3.3m.

Evan Lonergan of Knight Frank says the while there is strong interest in all development sites including those with planning permission, there is particular interest in those with planning permission for ready to go sites where the houses are well designed houses.

"This ensures that the purchaser won't have to tweak the planning permission so there will be no delays getting on site," he adds.

In Dublin 18 a 1.27 acre site known as Aberdour on the Stillorgan Road, Foxrock sold for more than €2.5m in a deal brokered by Knight Frank. A feasibility study shows that it has potential for between six and 11 houses suggesting a site value of at least €1.55m per acre.

Nearer to Stillorgan a slightly larger site of over two acres is believed to have sold in an off-market deal for around €2m per acre even though the residentially zoned site did not have any planning permission.

Fresh to the market this week is a 0.77 acre property at Tivoli Road, Dun Laoghaire, for which Colette Mulroy of DTZ Sherry FitzGerald is guiding €2.5m. It comes with planning permission to convert its house known as The Cottage Home to five units as well as providing a further five townhouses on the site.

Allsop scored some auction successes recently. The best of these saw a 3.9 acre site with industrial units and a bungalow at Browns Barn, Kingswood in south west Dublin sell for €1.42m.

The auctioneers also sold 38 acres at Killineer, Drogheda, Co. Louth, which were zoned 'Employment Uses' for €460,000 or €12,105 per acre. Originally planned for Boyne Bridge Business Park, the site came with planning permission for 13 light industrial units with a combined floor area of 27,879 sq ft). It is rumoured to have been bought by a collective of local landowners.

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