Bill Nowlan investment fund buys Tallaght apartment portfolio

Third of New Bancroft Hall units will be rented as social housing, says letting agent

 

A new property investment fund set up by property expert Bill Nowlan is on target to let all 131 apartments by the end of August in its first acquisition in Tallaght, Dublin 24.

The newly formed Dublin Artisan Development Fund has purchased the portfolio of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments in New Bancroft Hall from Park Developments for more than €30 million.

MD Property Management, which is handling the lettings, expects that more than 30 per cent of the apartments will be let to social and affordable tenants.

The fund’s anchor investor, the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, has taken a 48 per cent stake. Mr Nowlan and his cofounder, Frank Kenny, are leading a syndicate of high net-worth investors to make up the balance of the equity.

It is well known that Mr Nowlan has in recent years been researching the potential to bring institutional investment into the private rental sector, with a particular focus on the lower end of the market where there has been little investor interest. The investment in New Bancroft is seen by the fund as a pilot project.

Institutional investors

Mr Nowlan and Mr Kenny are understood to have had extensive meetings with both domestic and international institutional investors and pension funds that have expressed an interest in providing long-term capital for investments in the Irish rental market.

The aspiration is to scale the fund so that it can become a significant player in addressing the shortage of affordable rental accommodation, particularly in Dublin.

The fund is chaired by former Irish Life chief executive Kevin Murphy and has hired senior Nama asset manager Felix McKenna, who will join as chief executive in the autumn.

The fund is unlikely to be a direct developer of sites, but will consider the pre-funding of suitable projects – providing a secondary market for residential developers. One target area is schemes where State land is made available to deliver quality mixed tenure communities of private, affordable and social housing in line with the objectives of the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland plan.