Denis O’Brien set to make €30m from office sale

Global French fund CNP Assurance buys Dublin 2 office building for €85m

The telecoms billionaire Denis O’Brien is expected to make a profit of more than €30 million on the sale of a new landmark office building he funded at the junction of St Stephen’s Green and Earlsfort Terrace in Dublin 2.

The investment has just been sold for over €85 million to the global French fund CNP Assurance in a deal which will show a net yield of about 4.3 per cent.

The sale is subject to the approval of the Mergers Division of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. CNP has assets of over €300 billion.

Mr O’Brien’s successful sale is largely attributable to his early decision to redevelop Canada House at a time when construction activity was at a standstill in the city.


He engaged Bernard McNamara to handle development work and, within a few months of going on site, the newly named LXV block was pre-let to one of the world's largest aircraft leasing companies, Aercap, at a new benchmark rent of €645 per sq m (€60 per sq ft).

The 25-year lease will include a break option in year 15.

Soaring value

Mr O’Brien has watched the capital value of his new building rise over the past 12 months as an ever-increasing number of Irish and overseas funds competed for prime office investments.

LXV has been considered one of the best investment opportunities because of its location, high-quality finish and the strength of the covenant.

The rundown Canada House was bought by the businessman in 2001 for €25 million and experts estimate he spent €30 million on redeveloping it.

Declan O'Reilly of Knight Frank and Richard Strappe of Island Capital Services have been advising Mr O'Brien.

The rent for the 5,574sq m (60,000sq ft), six-storey block will come to about €3.6 million per annum while the 41 car parking spaces in the double basement will account for a further €164,000 annually.

The sale comes as several other developers including Green REIT, Hibernia REIT, IPUT Property, Larry Goodman and a consortium headed by Johnny Ronan prepare to launch new office developments at rents at or above €645 per sq m.

Benchmark rent

LXV remains the only new block to have reached that benchmark rent though individual floors in a number of prestigious developments have been let at this level and higher.

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan is the former commercial-property editor of The Irish Times