Cairn Homes to buy RTÉ land at Donnybrook for €107.5m

Irish listed property group significantly outbid rivals for prime site in Dublin 4

An artist impression of what the Montrose development could look like.

An artist impression of what the Montrose development could look like.


State broadcaster RTÉ is set to net a major financial windfall after accepting a bid of €107.5 million from Irish listed property group Cairn Homes for 8.64 acres of land at its Montrose complex in Donnybrook.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Cairn said it plans to seek permission to build 500 apartments and nine houses on what it described as a “prime site in a unique location”. The deal is expected to close during July.

“Cairn is delighted to have acquired what we believe to be Dublin’s most attractive residential development site,” the company’s chief executive Michael Stanley said. “Our design-led approach, the quality of the homes we build, and our economies of scale make this a truly exceptional opportunity for us.”

He said the site at Montrose would “significantly add” to its portfolio of new homes. “We are currently undertaking major apartment developments at both Marianella, Rathgar and 6 Hanover Quay in Dublin city centre,” he said.

It is understood that Cairn, which is listed on the London stock market, substantially outbid its rivals, who included Cork property developer Michael O’Flynn, Joe O’Reilly’s Chartered Land and Richard Barrett’s Bartra Capital.

The price offered by Cairn was also substantially more than the €75 million guided by Savills, the agent that brought the site to market.

Active housebuilder

Cairn is one of the most active housebuilders in the Irish market. Its landbank consists of more than 12,000 sites, of which 96 per cent are either residentially zoned or have planning consent.

Founded two years ago, Cairn has since spent more than €750 million on site acquisitions, mostly aimed at first-time buyers. It added to its firepower in March by raising another €52 million via a share placing.

Under planning legislation, 10 per cent of the scheme will also have to be made available to the local authority for social and affordable housing.

In a note to staff, RTÉ’s director general Dee Forbes said the funds would be used to invest in “capital projects, including much-needed technology upgrades and key digital infrastructure, and in making important changes to our organisational structure, essential workplace improvements, and reducing debt levels”.

Meanwhile, six separate objections have been lodged by residents against a planning application from RTÉ to relocate its Fair City production set to facilitate the land sale. RTÉ has proposed moving the Fair City lot close to the Nutley Road site of its complex.