Johnny Ronan strikes deal with US partner for Dublin docklands site

Developer’s buyout of Waterfront scheme clears way for construction of new European headquarters for Citigroup

Johnny Ronan’s Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) has secured full ownership and control of the Waterfront South Central site in Dublin’s north docklands.

The agreement of the deal between RGRE and its partner, Fortress, clears the way for the developer to commence the construction of a new European headquarters for global banking giant, Citigroup on the site. The Irish Times understands that work on Citi’s new offices is expected to get under way within the next month.

The deal comes weeks after Ronan Group agreed the refinancing of €150 million in debt associated with the apartments it is developing at Spencer Place and the €500 million sale of Salesforce’s European headquarters.

While the price paid by RGRE for the 70 per cent stake held by Fortress is not known, the figure will have been significant.

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Ronan acquired the Waterfront site with RGRE’s then funding partners, Colony Capital, for €180 million in 2018. Fortress inherited Colony’s interest in the 4.6-acre site last year as part of its wider $2.7 billion buyout of Colony’s international real estate assets.

News of the Ronan Group’s deal with Fortress follows a report in the Financial Times earlier this month in which Citigroup confirmed that it was in “a process” to acquire a site for its new European headquarters in Dublin.

While the bank didn’t elaborate on its plans, the Financial Times said it was preparing to sign off on a €100 million deal with RGRE and Fortress for a site within the Waterfront South Central scheme.

The report added that Citi would then have to pay up to a further €200 million to the developers to build out the 300,000 sq ft of office space it requires for its Dublin-based workforce. The US-headquartered bank’s proposed footprint equates to roughly 70 per cent of the 430,000 sq ft of office accommodation RGRE intends to develop as part of the wider north docklands scheme.

Located next to the 3Arena, Waterfront South Central will, upon completion, comprise a mix of offices and hundreds of apartments, along with numerous on-site amenities including cafes, creche facilities and restaurants.

The development is planned to have a clear focus on sustainability to the point where it becomes “Ireland’s first-ever carbon-positive campus” according to RGRE’s website.

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Acting Property Editor of The Irish Times