88% drop in value of D2 block


A Northern Ireland

businessman is planning to convert a redundant office block at 16-18 Lower Pembroke Street in Dublin 2 into a boutique hotel after buying it for about €3 million.

The sale price is 88 per cent lower than the €26 million paid for the former Dublin headquarters of the Commissioners for Irish Lights at the height of the property bubble in 2006.

Although CBRE’s marketing campaign attracted what it called a “huge level of interest from the residential, office and hotel sectors”, few were prepared to bid for the block because of its rundown condition and the obvious necessity of spending considerable funds on a refurbishment programme.

However, a strong selling point was its prime location in the central business district between Lower Baggot Street and Leeson Street, next to Fitzwilliam Square.

Planning permission
The previous owners, Gerry Deane and Paddy Fitzgerald of the Pembroke Partnership, had secured planning permission to redevelop and enlarge the building to provide four floors of offices with an internal area of 4,318sq m (45,000sq ft), two penthouses and 22 car-parking spaces at the rear. That project did not proceed because of the economic downturn and the banking crisis.

The mixed-use zoning applying to the block will allow it to be used either as offices or a hotel. An adviser to the hotel industry said that the additional space approved of would allow for the operation of 100 to 120 bedrooms.