Thursday 22 February 2018

Goodman steals a march on his rivals

Beef baron in front in race to secure tenant for Bank HQ

Larry Goodman
Larry Goodman
Bank of Ireland HQ on Baggot Street
Derek Quinlan

RONALD QUINLAN

BEEF Baron Larry Goodman has stolen a march on his business rivals and quite possibly on Nama in the race to secure the biggest office letting Ireland's commercial property market has seen in over a decade.

Property industry insiders have been applauding Mr Goodman's recent decision to snap up Bank of Ireland's former Baggot Street headquarters following the news last week that blue-chip accountancy firm KPMG is preparing to invite proposals for the provision of space for new headquarters for its operations by early 2017.

With KPMG reportedly in the market for between 180,000 and 200,000 sq ft of space, Mr Goodman would appear to have secured an early advantage over Nama and others who might be interested in securing the accountancy giants as tenants given his family's ownership of the 220,599 sq ft former Bank of Ireland HQ.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, one property industry insider described the Louth-born businessman's acquisition last December of the former Bank of Ireland building as a "classic example" of his ability to see an opportunity and do the deal while his competitors are "still sitting on the side of the bed wiping the sleep out of their eyes".

While Mr Goodman's purchase was greeted then as a general vote of confidence in Irish commercial property, that assessment was being revised last week with one property industry insider noting that Mr Goodman had obviously been doing his homework.

"Sure it was in the papers last August that KPMG were looking for a new HQ. I wouldn't be one bit surprised if Mr Goodman read it and put two and two together. That's the difference between private sector doers and public sector processors," the insider said.

When it was brought to the market by selling agents Jones Lang La Salle late last year, the Scott Tallon Walker-designed building had been expected to attract bids within the region of €30m to €35m.

Ultimately, a company called Ramly Ltd – a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Goodman family's Parma Group – saw off a number of bidders securing the property for a sum believed to be in the region of €40m.

The price paid by Mr Goodman's interests represents a mere fraction of the €212m handed over at the height of the boom in 2006 by a consortium headed up by Ireland's then property Midas, Derek Quinlan.

Asked how long the refurbishment of the former Bank of Ireland HQ would take to make it fit for purpose for a tenant such as KPMG, one experienced developer quipped: "Compared to building from scratch, it's a two men and a wheelbarrow job."

The cost of refurbishing the Baggot Street property has been estimated at between €30m and €40m.

Sunday Independent

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