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Blackstone set to acquire €535m Dublin office portfolio

Surprise in property industry as it had been reported Starwood had rowed back on sale

The Cedar portfolio, including the Watermarque building in Dublin 4, above, was offered for sale by Starwood through CBRE and Eastdil Secured in September

US private equity giant Blackstone has indicated its intention to acquire a portfolio of five prime Dublin office assets with an indicative value of €535 million.

The company has notified the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) of its intention.

The CCPC was informed of Blackstone’s bid to acquire the Cedar portfolio from another major US real estate firm, Starwood, in a formal merger notification on Thursday.

News of the deal will come as a surprise to many within the property industry, as it had been reported recently that Starwood had rowed back on its decision to sell.

The Cedar portfolio was offered for sale by Starwood through CBRE and Eastdil Secured in September. It comprises a number of landmark office properties, including the Watermarque building, 75 St Stephen’s Green, Iveagh Court, Marsh House, 29-31 Adelaide Road, and 1 and 2 Parkgate Street.

Distributed across Dublin’s central business district, the properties comprise 600,737sq ft of office accommodation and 45 residential units.

Iveagh Court is the portfolio’s biggest asset by size and rent. Developed by Seán Reilly’s McGarrell Reilly, the Charlemont Street property extends to 220,938sq ft and is generating €10.44 million – or 36 per cent of the portfolio’s rent – from tenants which include WeWork, Mercer and the OPW. It is understood the building has been ascribed a value of about €200 million for the purposes of the sale.

High-profile property

Arguably the most high-profile property included in Starwood’s sale however is 75 St Stephen’s Green. Built by Garrett Kelleher’s Shelbourne Developments, the property extends to 102,485sq ft and is occupied by several blue chip tenants including Maples, Avoca (KKR), Hedge Serve and Cantor Fitzgerald.

Starwood’s decision to dispose of the Cedar portfolio is understood to have been prompted by an unsolicited approach from Iput earlier this year, which placed an indicative value of about €555 million on the assets.

Having considered the approach, Starwood opted to offer the portfolio to a select number of national and international investors through CBRE and Eastdil Secured.

The sale attracted bids from Blackstone. Goldman Sachs, Apollo, Blackstone, Tristan Capital, Avestus and developer Shane Whelan’s Westridge Real Estate.

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