It's the tallest building in Ireland, promises five-star living and has some of the steepest residential rents in the country: welcome to Capital Dock.
Spread over 22 floors and 700,000sq ft, Capital Dock occupies a prime corner of Dublin’s south docklands and developer Kennedy Wilson is hoping to attract premium rents for the luxury on offer.
The Carrara marble floor that greets visitors at the entrance is the first signal that this is no ordinary block of flats. The concierge in the lobby is another but it’s the spectacular triple-aspect views of Dublin that seal the deal.
The development comprises 190 apartments, two neighbouring office blocks (one sold to JP Morgan and the other let to Indeed. com), 1.5 acres of public space that will include a playground and a mix of retail units, restaurants and bars.
"We could have got another block on the 1.5 acres," says Ali Rohan, head of Kennedy Wilson's operations in Ireland. "For us, it was about building the community. We feel it's critical to the success of future schemes that we do provide this space and that it's vibrant."
There is also 24-hour security, a gym, cinema room, business suite (with free wifi), a “chef’s” kitchen if you want to have your mates around for a dinner party, and a gamesroom for the kids. “People are busy, they need convenience and community is an important part of it,” Rohan says.
There are sky-high rents to match. The 150 two-bedroom apartments range in price from €3,500 to €4,000 a month, while the 2,000sq ft (185sq m) penthouse on the 22nd floor is available for a cool €20,000 monthly.
Car parking spaces are an extra €150 a month although Kennedy Wilson is offering electric cars for rent in the basement.
The US developer expects 60 per cent or more of the apartments to be let to foreign nationals working in the area. It is also expecting some families.
“We have had quite a few viewings from families to date,” Rohan says, citing the playgrounds, gamesroom and nearby Sandymount strand as attractions.
Kennedy Wilson acquired Capital Dock in 2013, when Ireland was in the final year of its IMF-EU bailout programme.
Irishman Peter Collins, president of the firm's European operations, says the real estate group "could see the Irish economy" recovering. "What we did see was that Dublin was very underserved by international-quality mixed-use schemes," he says.
The penthouse has views of three sides of Dublin, up and down the Liffey, with the 3Arena on the northside and the Aviva and the mountains to the south
“We felt Dublin really needed to up its game in that regard and I think Capital Dock is one of those schemes that’s done that . . . and a lot of our peers in Dublin have done the same and the city is looking a lot better than it did five years ago.”
Nama is a partner in the scheme, with a 15 per cent shareholding. What will happen to Nama’s share when it winds down in 2020/21?
“We’ll sit down with them over the next little while and figure out how they want to create an exit for themselves from this partnership,” Collins explains. “From Kennedy Wilson’s point of view, we’re here for the long term. We see great value to be derived from managing this estate over the next 20 years.
The two-bedroom apartment on the third floor that The Irish Times viewed will cost €3,800 a month to rent. It comprises 980sq ft of space, is smartly furnished, and has dual-aspect views.
What profit will Kennedy Wilson make on such a unit? “Ah, I couldn’t be saying that,” says Rohan.
The penthouse has views of three sides of Dublin, up and down the Liffey, with the 3Arena on the northside and the Aviva and the mountains to the south. It has exposed brick walls and 2.7m-high floor-to-ceiling glazing. A planned balcony was internalised to offer another dining/lounge room.
A new vehicle bridge will link the docklands block with Ringsend and there are also plans for a pedestrian bridge across the Liffey.
Who might let the penthouse?
“It’s clearly aimed at the very top end of the market,” says Collins. “A letting for the corporate market. You’ve got top banking or tech executives coming into Dublin spending a year or two. This is the type of facility that their companies want for them, that they can use for entertaining and that is comparable with the facilities they would see in other top cities.”
Capital Dock cost about €280 million for construction alone. 'It's a very big sum,' Collins says
Collins argues that a good 1,000sq ft, two-bed in London would cost about £10,000 a month, making Capital Dock “relatively good” value.
To satisfy its Part V obligations for social and affordable housing for its Capital Dock and Clancy Quay schemes, Kennedy Wilson has built 40 units for Dublin City Council at its Herberton development in Rialto, close to the planned new national children's hospital.
Ireland now accounts for about a quarter of Kennedy Wilson’s global revenues. It has 2,200 built units in Dublin and Cork, where it owns the Elysian building, and is either on site or in the design phase with another 1,300.
Capital Dock cost about €280 million for construction alone. “It’s a very big sum,” Collins says, adding that “our immediate goal would be to try and get that to about 5,000 units. So we’ve a little bit to go yet and we’re very keen to keep investing.”
He insists that Kennedy Wilson is here for the long term. “In the US, we’ve been around since the mid 1970s, we went into the Japanese market in early 1990s and we’re still there and we’re going to be here in Ireland in 20 or 30 years time. No question about that.”