The big players in the homes market
Lone Star - The Texas–based group founded by billionaire financier John Grayken is understood to have invested €5bn in Irish assets in the past four years across 10 transactions. It has also teamed up with respected Irish developers to enable them to resume their house-building projects.
Its funds own 600 acres of land in Dublin, with the potential for 7,000 homes. In Adamstown, it has partnered with Joe O’Reilly’s Castlethorn Construction which is working to deliver 500 homes.
Already, Castlethorn sold 150 houses at Alderlie and has sold more at St Helens.
Market sources say that Adamstown SDZ, where Cairn is also developing, could deliver more affordable homes faster than any other single development in the country.
Lone Star is also working with Seán Mulryan’s Ballymore Development in Portmarnock and developer Bernie Carroll in Skerries.
A MAJOR player in the housing market, it is involved with 26,000 units that are potentially deliverable in the medium term. In addition, a further 20,000-plus are at pre-planning or feasibility stages.
Of the 26,000 deliverable units, more than 4,800 have already been delivered and 4,057 of these are in the Greater Dublin Area. A further 3,178 were under construction nationally or had funding approved at the end of March.
Since 2011, it has sold sites with the potential to deliver more than 50,000 units but acknowledges that as of March only 1,116 units had been delivered, with an additional 2,104 under construction.
Despite criticism from some developers, Nama has also been helping to fund development activity by working with some developers, such as Gerry Gannon’s Millers Glen in Swords and Cosgrave Brothers in Dún-Laoghaire.
This was the first US investment firm to recognise the returns that could be made from the Dublin residential letting market when it bought Liam Carroll’s iconic circular Gasworks development in Ringsend, Dublin 4.
It also realised that further returns could be achieved by developing its own rental properties. Between acquisitions and new developments, it currently has about 1,600 units in Dublin, with plans to bring this closer to 2,000.
It has mainly targeted locations where it can achieve above-average rents for well-presented apartments. It developed 166 units at Vantage in Leopardstown and 586 at Clancy Quay near Heuston Station, where it is seeking permission for a further 245.
Other properties in its portfolio include the Shelbourne and Portmarnock Hotels, Bank of Ireland’s HQ at Mespil Road and KPMG’s HQ at Russell Court, St Stephens’ Green, Dublin 2, as well as the former FÁS HQ on Baggot Street.
Has been involved in buying and selling a diverse range of Irish commercial property. A 26-year-old private US investment firm, with €43bn in assets under management, its Starwood Hotels & Resorts division operates the Westin Hotel on Westmoreland Street in Dublin, as well as the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone.
It is also reported to have done a deal to bring the first Starwood Aloft hip boutique franchise to a 202-bedroom hotel that is being built at Blackpitts in Dublin 8.
Less well known are Starwood’s link-ups with major Irish investors and developers.
For instance, in 2015 Starwood linked up with Joe O’Reilly’s Chartered Land to pay €184.3m for the Elm Park office and apartment complex in Dublin 4.
Within a year, they had sold on just one of the office blocks and 211 apartments to recover about €115m of their outlay.
They have since sold a number of associated assets, including garda offices at Harcourt Street, which were bought for about €70m by Hibernia REIT, as well as four SuperValu stores and a 50pc stake in Royal Hibernian Way on Dawson Street.
In 2014, when Hines acquired 400 acres at Cherrywood in south Dublin for around €270m, it was hailed as the catalyst which would resolve the logjammed new town centre.
Its decision to develop parks and infrastructure in advance of housing, offices and shops was seen as offering a solution.
However, progress has been somewhat slower than had been expected.
Meanwhile, the US firm, which has $96.5bn (€82bn) of assets under management in 20 countries, has been active with a number of other Irish properties.
Most recently, its Aparto division became the major player in the student accommodation market by acquiring three existing student facilities in Dublin with 1,122 beds, including the former Montrose Hotel.
It also plans to include two other student facilities which have yet to be built, in Summerhill and Cork Street. Once completed, these will deliver 550 beds.
In 2017 Hines and the Peterson Group bought the former Central Bank HQ on Dame Street in Dublin.
Pulled off two of the greatest development land coups in the Irish market in the last five years.
Headed by Michael and Kevin Stanley, along with Alan McIntosh, its most recent coup was the 8.64 acres of RTÉ land at Montrose, Dublin 4, which Cairn bought for €107.5m with the help of a €50m loan facility from Activate Capital, a company which is supported by the State-controlled Irish Strategic Investment Fund.
It is expected to develop more than 500 apartments and 20 houses on the site.
Cairn’s second land coup was acquiring a substantial portion of Project Clear, a portfolio of Ulster Bank loans which enabled Cairn to acquire sought-after sites in the Greater Dublin area.
These include Shackleton Park in Lucan, where it recently offered houses off the plans. Its landbank is estimated at 12,600 units,
Cairn is currently active on eight sites in Greater Dublin, which will deliver 3,250 units.