Kevin O'Higgins Solicitors

Former Nationwide HQ makes €13m

Wednesday, 8 January, 2014
The Irish Times
Jack Fagan

Keen interest in receiver sale due to the obvious development potential of site.

London & Regional Properties, the UK-based investment fund, has bought the former headquarters of the Irish Nationwide Building Society for close to the asking price of €13 million.

The sale attracted considerable interest from Irish and overseas investors because of the development opportunities on the 1.7-acre grounds at Grand Parade, Dublin 6, rather than the half century old building which has a dated fit-out.

London & Regional is expected to opt for a substantial office development on the remainder of the site because of its prime location next to a Luas station and the likelihood that rents will soar over the coming years due to the shortage of new accommodation in the city. Office agents have endorsed the office site because of its close proximity to the city centre and that it is “more like a Dublin 2 location than a Dublin 6 development opportunity”.

The eight-storey over basement listed building extends to 3,948sq m (42,500sq ft) and is occupied by staff of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation who are expected to move out in the coming weeks.

When the block becomes vacant, the new owners will have the option of stripping it out and bringing it back to the frame before installing a modern fit-out. A full scale refurbishment is likely to cost in excess of €5 million. Though the block comes with a 92-space surface car park, these facilities will inevitably be provided at basement level as part of the redevelopment of the remainder of the site.

The office block overlooking the Grand Canal was purchased by the Michael Fingleton-run building society in 1991 for £4 million (about €5.1 million). It was previously the HQ of the then Irish-owned tobacco company PJ Carroll whose manufacturing plant was in Dundalk. The grounds of the Grand Parade building originally extended to around two acres and were reduced to 1.7 acres after the Luas line cut through part of the site.

Agent CBRE handled the sale of the complex for Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson of KPMG who are joint special liquidators to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

The property is opposite the Hilton Hotel which is being acquired by US businessman John Malone. He has agreed a price of close to €30 million for the 193-bedroom hotel only six months after buying the Trinity Plaza Hotel at Pearse Street.