The Layden Group looks set to secure a significant return on its investment in a south Dublin office building which it acquired in the depths of the financial crisis.
Having paid €9.25 million for Boole House in Clonskeagh in 2010, the company has engaged agent JLL to seek a buyer for the property and an adjoining site with full planning permission for a new office development at a guide price of €12.5 million.
Developed in the mid-1990s, Boole House comprises a three-storey, 42,000sq ft (3,902sq m) Grade A office block within the Beech Hill Office Campus. There are 119 dedicated car parking spaces with the building providing a generous ratio of one space per 350 sq ft.
The subject property is currently occupied in its entirety by Ericsson until April 1st, 2021. Ericsson has sublet part of one floor to RBK Accountants, and this presents an opportunity to negotiate a direct lease with RBK to see them remain in 7,000 sq ft. The new owner will also have the benefit of a statutory reinstatement settlement as part of the lease with Ericsson.
Quite apart from securing ownership of Boole House itself, the prospective purchaser will also have the benefit of a speculative development site immediately adjacent to the existing property. The current owner has secured planning permission for a five-storey, 34,250sq ft (3,185sq m) office development. Additional information on this scheme can be obtained from Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council's website using the planning reference number: D18A/0657.
The sale of Boole House is expected to see strong interest from both Irish and international investors. Clonskeagh is widely recognised as an excellent location for employers thanks to its close proximity to Dublin's central business district. Paddy Power, Circle K, First Data, Omnicom, Novartis, Verifone, McDonald's and Brewin Dolphin are just some of the globally-recognisable names to have located in the area over recent years.
Deirdre Costello, who is handling the sale on behalf of JLL says: "We expect the sale of this property to attract widespread interest from a variety of both local and international investors due to the quality of the existing space combined with the development potential of the site."
The Layden Group has long been acknowledged as astute judges of Dublin’s commercial property market.
In 1992, and in the midst of a currency crisis, the group took its opportunity to buy the Dunnes Stores premises on South Great George's Street and the adjoining George's Street Arcade for a knockdown price of €2 million. In 2018, Dunnes Stores paid €21 million to secure the freehold interest in the supermarket, having rented it for 36 years.
Although the Layden Group has been approached on numerous occasions over recent years by investors and funds interested in acquiring the George’s Street Arcade, it retains ownership of the property.
The group’s stewardship of Dublin’s first purpose-built shopping centre has come to the fore during the Covid-19 pandemic. Having taken the decision to shut the premises at the outset of the crisis, the Layden Group informed the arcade’s 42 tenants of its intention to forgo all rent payments for the duration of the temporary closure.
While such generosity may run counter to the attitude or practice of other commercial landlords, the Layden Group’s consolidated financial statements for 2019 show it to be in rude financial health, with shareholder funds of €37.64 million.
Founded 42 years ago by Joe Layden, the group operates today with five family members as directors – Gwen, Siobhan, Anita, Jack and Catherine, as well as an existing director, accountant Thomas Lavelle.