Sunday 18 March 2018

Hammerson showcases its Dundrum mall jewel asset to investors during site visit

Dundrum Town Centre
Dundrum Town Centre
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

UK property firm Hammerson has been showing off its recently acquired Dundrum Shopping Centre in Dublin to investors, and detailing its strategy for the Irish market.

The group has brought investors and analysts to Dublin this week for a two-day site visit.

They also visited the Ilac Centre and the Pavilions centre in Swords, in which Hammerson also now owns stakes.

The investors are having a breakfast meeting at Davy Stockbrokers this morning and will then visit Liffey Valley and Blanchardstown shopping centres.

Liffey Valley has been put up for sale by owners Grosvenor, HSBC and Hines and is expected to fetch about €600m. The Blanchardstown centre was sold for €950m this year to Blackstone.

At the Davy event, Hammerson is hosting a panel discussion on the Irish retail environment, while investors will then be brought on a tour of other retail destinations in the capital, including Grafton Street.

Hammerson and the property arm of German insurer Allianz finalised the acquisition of Dundrum Shopping Centre during the summer.

Hammerson and Allianz acquired the so-called 'Project Jewel' loans from Nama, with all of the loans associated with developer Joe O'Reilly and his firm, Chartered Land.

A total of €2.6bn worth of loans attached to the properties were acquired for €1.85bn.

Hammerson secured sole ownership of the 50pc stakes in both the Ilac and the Pavilions that were sold, as well as development sites adjoining each of the three assets.

Hammerson has previously said that it sees huge potential for the city centre development site it acquired. It extends over 5.3 acres and includes property on Henry Street, Parnell Street, Moore Street and O'Connell Street.

In Dublin yesterday and today, senior Hammerson management have been giving presentations on the company's strategy in Ireland, as well as providing an overview on the Irish macro backdrop and the current retail property market.

Among those who are in Dublin this week are Hammerson chief executive David Atkins, chief financial officer Timon Drakesmith, and the company's director of retail for Ireland, Simon Betty.

"We're seeing great demand for space, a good level of retail sales and we've got plenty of ideas we want to put in place," said Mr Atkins regarding Dundrum in an interview with the 'Sunday Telegraph' this week.

"There's a long list of demand [from retailers] because Chartered Land, which was running the asset, was in Nama, so the financial element of what it did was effectively controlled by the Irish government," he added.

"They weren't particularly interested in putting new capital to work so were quite constrained in terms of what they could do."

Among the new chains set to open in Dundrum is US burger brand Five Guys. The Irish franchise for the business was acquired by Brett, Ross and Derry Desmond - the sons of billionaire financier Dermot.

Mr Atkins said that he's confident about the economic outlook for Ireland.

"It's our belief that you have an economy now built on much stronger foundations and enjoying much more sustainable growth," he said in his interview. "So we think the outlook for Ireland looks strong."

Irish Independent

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