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Cosgrave Property Group secures exit from Nama

Developer has refinanced its loans with Castlehaven Finance and Relm Finance

The Cosgrave Property Group has secured €200m from the sale of 368 apartments at its Cualanor scheme in July.

The Cosgrave Property Group has exited Nama following the refinancing of its remaining loan facilities with the State agency.

Castlehaven Finance and Relm Finance have entered into an agreement with the group, which will see them replace Nama as the lender on its portfolio of commercial real estate, sites and development assets.

The deal brings to an effective end the Cosgrave Property Group’s decade-long association with Nama.

Founded in 1979 by brothers Joe, Michael and the late Peter Cosgrave, the Dublin-based developer has built over 10,000 homes and some 2 million sq ft of commercial space in the capital and in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA).

The company’s early developments included houses at Farmleigh in Stillorgan, Morehampton Square and Donnybrook Manor.

Bigger developments followed, including the Sweepstakes in Ballsbridge and Custom Hall on Gardiner Street, one of the first urban regeneration schemes,which launched in 1992.

Large suburban schemes such as the Salthill Clearwater Cove apartments in Monkstown followed. In 1998 the brothers restored and converted St Helen’s House in Booterstown into the Radisson Blu St Helen’s hotel, before making the headlines again in 1999 with the exclusive Ardilea Wood development of homes in Clonskeagh. The Cosgraves went on to build Gulliver’s Retail Park in Santry, Meridian Point in Greystones, and the George’s Quay office complex on the Liffey in Dublin 2.

In 2004, they acquired the Dún Laoghaire Golf Club lands as part of a land swap deal, which saw the club’s membership relocate to a new golf course and club house in Co Wicklow. Over the next decade the Cosgraves, who by now had been joined by their youngest brother Willie, began to plan and build on the golf lands - first with Honey Park and more recently with Cualanor.

When the financial crisis hit they were one of the few developers to keep building new homes.

With the support of Nama the Cosgrave Property Group built 719 houses and 1,885 apartments, as well as significant commercial and amenity projects.

Investment deal

Last July, the group secured the biggest investment deal of the year when it sold 368 apartments at Cheevers Court and Haliday House in its Cualanor scheme to Deutsche Bank subsidiary DWS for about € 200 million.

The transaction represented the fourth major private rented sector (PRS) deal that the Cosgraves secured since 2016 at Cualanor, and the neighbouring Honeypark scheme, which it is developing on the former Dún Laoghaire Golf Club lands.

While the Cosgrave Property Group has pursued the sale of large-scale apartment projects to institutional investors over recent years, it continues to cater for the owner-occupier market.

In keeping with this twin-track strategy, Cosgrave’s disposal of the Cheevers Court and Haliday House PRS portfolio followed on from its sale to the traditional owner-occupier market of more than 400 houses and 150 apartments at the wider Cualanor and Honeypark development.

At Cualanor alone, 96 apartments and 178 houses have been sold to individual buyers.

The Cosgraves’ new debt facilities with Castlehaven and Relm will be used to fund the delivery of a number of major residential schemes.

Deloitte acted as advisor to the Cosgrave Property Group on the refinancing of its Nama loans, with Sheehan & Company, McCann FitzGerald and DWF acting as legal advisors.

A spokesperson for the developer thanked Nama for its funding of their developments in recent years and welcomed new funders Castlehaven and Relm. They said the Cosgraves and their team are “determined to continue to push out the boundaries in terms of design and construction excellence and the provision of the highest quality buildings and amenities.”

Relm chief executive Paul Dowling said his company’s decision to back the Cosgrave Property Group presents “an unparalleled opportunity to partner with a best-in-class asset manager on a top-quality property portfolio.”

Commenting on the deal, Castlehaven partner Will Aylmer said: “We are delighted to be working with the Cosgrave Property Group on this milestone deal. Castlehaven has always sought to be part of the solution for Ireland’s housing crisis and we are excited to work with Cosgraves to deliver much-needed quality housing in key locations around Dublin.”

Castlehaven and Relm are both funded by global investment firm Avenue Capital Group.

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