Tuesday 20 February 2018

Cosgraves splash €124m on London high street

The Cosgrave Property Group, one of Ireland's leading developers, has splashed out £86.5m (€124m) on a retail block on London's Oxford Street, marking its second purchase within 15 months on Britain's busiest high street.

The Dublin-based group, owned by siblings Joe, Peter, Michael, Willie and Helen Cosgrave, have now spent the equivalent of €832.6m on UK commercial property since they made their first foray into the market less than two years ago.

This represents over 5pc of the €15.4bn that Property-data.com, the market research firm, reckons that Irish investors have shelled out for UK commercial property over the past four years.

The family's latest assault on UK property has seen it acquire a 55,000 sq foot retail block at 301-307 Oxford Street, which is partly let to River Island, from Axa Real Estate Investment Managers. The property currently has a rental yield of almost 4.4pc.

The move is in defiance of the recent credit crunch and concerns over the outlook for UK commercial property.

It comes little over a year after the Cosgraves snapped up an estate of investment properties on three-quarters of an acre near Oxford Circus for £132.5m (€190.2m). The estate includes Jubilee House, with 122ft of unbroken frontage on to Oxford Street and partly leased to Next and Superdrug, and West End House, an office building.

The group's first significant move in the UK came in January 2006 when it paid £80m (€115m) for a major retail complex, called Caxtongate, in the heart of Birmingham from Land Securities.

Two months ago, the Cosgraves stumped up £281m (€403.5m) for the Essex Liberty Shopping Centre and adjacent office buildings in Romford. They bought the building from Hammerson, the UK property giant.

The Cosgraves' father, Jack Cosgrave, one of the best-known players in Irish property circles, passed away two year's ago -- leaving €53.9m. The developer lived all his life in the family home in Churchtown, where he and his father once farmed the adjoining land.

Five of Mr Cosgrave's six children set up Cosgrave Brothers in 1979, which established itself as one of the country's top house builders.

It later became known as Cosgrave Property Group.

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