Friends First get planning approval on Enterprise House
Friends First have received planning permission to redevelop their 1980s Enterprise House office building, which forms part of the Blackrock Shopping Centre complex in south Dublin.
The new office building, which will be built to LEED gold standard, is set to extend to approximately 8,082 sq m (87,000 sq ft) of Grade A office accommodation arranged over five floors. Enterprise House currently extends to 3,065 sq m (33,000 sq ft) and is occupied by insurers Zurich Life Assurance. The Irish Independent understands from market sources that Friends First are currently in negotiations with Zurich with a view to pre-letting the new building in its entirety to them.
The redevelopment of Enterprise House will see its current structure demolished and replaced with new offices with improved floor plates. The new building will be approximately the same height as the property it is replacing.
Friends First are also understood to have plans to refurbish Blackrock Shopping Centre. The scheme has recently attracted a number of new tenants including the Vanilla Pod restaurant and Esquires Coffee.
Commenting on the plan, Friends First head of property Claire Solon said: "This is the first largescale project to be planned for Blackrock village in decades and reflects our commitment to this location. We have a long history with Blackrock and want to improve the quality of the building stock within our ownership and create value for the fund."
Ms Solon said that Friends First would endeavour to refurbish Blackrock Shopping Centre in a manner that contributes to the local character of Blackrock village itself.
"It [the centre] has suffered from a lack of investment over the years and we want to reflect the village atmosphere and provide an asset that can be enjoyed by the local community and the retailers within the scheme," she said.
Elsewhere, Friends First has lodged a planning application with Dublin City Council for improvement works on the retail element of another of its major assets, the Royal Hibernian Way on Dawson Street.
Friends First Irish Commercial Property Fund, which has €500m in property assets under management, recently outbid a number of other investors to buy the 3 store at 35 Henry Street, Dublin 1 for some €9.2m - or nearly €1m above the guide price. With the store delivering annual rent of €425,000, the price equates to a net initial yield of 4.5pc.