The opportunity to deliver a brand new urban quarter at the heart of the most sought-after area in Dublin city centre is expected to see significant interest from an array of developers and investors in the sale of DIT's Aungier Street campus. The property is being brought to the market today by agent CBRE on behalf of the DIT's successor – Technological University Dublin – at a guide price of €110 million.
Situated just 350m from St Stephen’s Green, the 1 hectare (2.5 acre) D2HQ site is zoned “Z5 City Centre” under the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022, offering the purchaser scope to provide for a broad mix of uses including offices, retail, residential, hotel and student accommodation.
A feasibility study undertaken by O’Mahony Pike Architects suggests three potential development options for the Aungier Street campus, outlining the possibility for both a purely commercial development, and a mixed-use scheme comprising offices and apartments catering for the private rented sector (PRS) market. The proposed office scheme extends to 60,390sq m (650,032sq ft), while the mixed-use options provide for a range of office space from 38,580sq m - 41,860sq m (415,271sq ft - 450,577sq ft) as well as 152 apartment units suited to the PRS market.
The Dublin office market performed strongly in 2019, with about 236,500sq m (2,554,664sq ft) of office lettings in the city, with the Dublin 2/4 district accounting for in excess of 65 per cent of total take-up. Vacancy rates in Dublin are low and have settled around 4.2 per cent in Dublin city centre, with a vacancy rate of approximately 3.4 per cent for grade A stock. With over 432,000sq m (4,650,009sq ft) of live requirements in Dublin at present, the office market is expected to continue to prosper, and Aungier Street will be in a prime position to benefit from the prevailing appetite for prime office space. Investor appetite in the PRS market meanwhile is particularly robust, with €2.4 billion invested last year, equating to 33 per cent of the overall market spend.
The existing Aungier Street buildings range in height from four to five storeys above basement, and extend to 25,833sq m (278,064sq ft) in total and were developed in phases between 1989 and 2004. The building accommodates 5,000 students at present. The site occupies a high-profile corner location on the junction of Bishop Street and Peter Row, with over 240m (787ft) of frontage facing on to Bishop Street and Peter Row.
Peter Garrigan, head of CBRE’s development land division, says: “We expect to see considerable interest from a range of interested parties for D2HQ given the scale and development potential to provide for a brand-new urban quarter in Dublin 2.”
The 2.54 acre Aungier Street campus comes to the market just over one year after TU Dublin secured €140 million from the sale of its nearby Kevin Street campus to developer Shane Whelan’s Westridge Real Estate.
In acquiring the Kevin Street portfolio, Westridge fended off bids from several of the country's foremost developers, including Johnny Ronan's Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE), Sean Mulryan's Ballymore, Joe O'Reilly's Chartered Land and Pat Crean's Marlet Property Group.
Westridge is in the process currently of preparing a planning application for a major mixed-use scheme on the 1.4 hectare (3.57 acre) site, comprising mainly grade A office space alongside a large element of private rented sector apartments, and food and beverage offerings.
The move by TU Dublin to dispose of both its Kevin Street and Aungier Street properties forms part of its plan to relocate its entire student body and faculty to its new centralised campus at Grangegorman in Dublin 7. While the university is set to welcome 10,000 students and staff to Grangegorman from this September, the 29.5 hectare (73 acre) site will ultimately come to accommodate more than 20,000 students and 2,500 staff.
Commenting on the Aungier Street sale, Prof David FitzPatrick, president of TU Dublin, said: “Our College of Business in Aungier Street, with 5,000 students and staff, is the largest business school in Ireland. We are now preparing the way for them to join our students of many other disciplines and to enjoy the new facilities on our flagship campus at Grangegorman, just across the Liffey.”