Nama to merge Grafton Street shops
The National Assets Management Agency is to fund the amalgamation of two adjoining retail buildings on Dublin’s Grafton Street with the aim of enhancing the value of the outlet and attracting a leading international trader to the site.
An estimated €1.5 million is likely to be spent on redeveloping and merging the two stores which will end up with more than 743sq m (8,000sq ft) of retail space at ground and first floor levels as well as two other floors for offices and stores.
Letting agent Savills is expected to target a small number of overseas multiples thought to be interested in setting up a high profile store in Dublin. The development is also likely to be of more than passing interest to chemist chain Boots which has been looking for a flagship outlet in the city centre. Its existing store on the street has considerable space restrictions.
The new shop at 57/58 Grafton Street will replace Zerep and a temporary golf shop (it previously traded as Richard Alan) and is expected to attract a rent in the order of €750,000.
The two buildings were part of a larger retail portfolio bought during the boom by developer Bernard McNamara who had planned to create a new street from Grafton Street back to South William Street and Drury Street.
He had acquired a large number of retail buildings in the area, most of which have since been sold by a receiver at a fraction of their original price. The Co Clare developer is thought to have spent some €25 million on acquiring the two Grafton Street shops.
Beneficial to taxpayers
Derek Noble of receivers FGS, which manages the property, said Nama had decided not to sell the two buildings at this stage, opting to combine them and rent the enlarged outlet in the belief that in the medium term this would be more beneficial to taxpayers.
FGS said Nama had agreed to commit considerable capital expenditure to amalgamate the two units, just part of the overall €2bn allocated for similar value enhancing opportunities.
The development of a spacious store on Grafton Street could prompt others on the street to amalgamate and redevelop their buildings in the future. Grafton Street’s fortunes have been severely damaged in recent years by the proliferation of small outlets which are difficult to let because of inadequate floor areas. The result is that Henry Street now has a greater number of flagship stores than Grafton Street.