Hammerson eyes mixed-use development at Dundrum Town Centre

UK retail developer plans to become ‘Ireland’s leading retail property owner’

UK property group Hammerson said  a “better opportunity” for Phase 2 at Dundrum Town Centre would be a mixed-use development. (Photograph : Matt Kavanagh / THE IRISH TIMES)

UK property group Hammerson said a “better opportunity” for Phase 2 at Dundrum Town Centre would be a mixed-use development. (Photograph : Matt Kavanagh / THE IRISH TIMES)

 

More apartments may be coming to Dundrum, as the new owners of the Dundrum Town Centre said they may shelve original plans for a retail expansion of the centre, opting instead for a mixed-use expansion of the south Dublin shopping site.

Announcing its annual results on Monday, UK retail developer Hammerson, set out its intention to become, “Ireland’s leading retail property owner” and gave further detail on its recent acquisitons.

Project Jewel

Last October, the group, which has an £8.4bn portfolio of retail assets across Europe, acquired the so-called Project Jewel portfolio from Nama for €1.85 billion in a 50:50 joint venture with Allianz. The portfolio, which had a face value of some €2.6 billlion, includes Dundrum Town Centre, the Pavilions in Swords, the Ilac shopping centre, as well as a large development site between Henry Street and O’Connell Street in Dublin city centre.

The Dundrum shopping site comes with a six acre development site (Phase 2) which has consent for another 100,000 sq metres of retail space. However, in its annual results, the UK property group said that a “better opportunity” for the site would be a mixed-use development. Phase 2 will involve building on the old Dundrum shopping centre.

Similarly, Hammerson said that a 16-acre site adjacent to the Swords Pavilions shopping centre “offers scope for future mixed use development”.

With regards to the 5.3 acre site beside the Ilac Centre, Hammerson said “this is one of the largest and best-positioned urban development sites in Europe”.

“With its strategic location and mix of current tenants, the site offers the flexibility to pursue numerous development scenarios andeliver a modern landmark of international importance that is sympathetic to the neighbourhood’s history”.

Hammerson has set up an Irish office, under retail director Simon Betty, to manage the transition from loans to property assets and expect to own the properties by this summer.

Once the loans are transitioned, Hammerson will own 50 per cent of Dundrum Town Centre and Phase 2, and will act as asset and development manager. It will also own 50 per cent of the Ilac Centre and Swords Pavilions, but will own 100 per cent of the development sites in the city centre and Swords. The total consideration for the group’s share of Project Jewel is £0.91 billion (€1.2bn).

Kildare Village

Hammerson also acquired an additional 21 per cent interest in Kildare Village outlet centre in December for £12 million, valuing the centre at £57 million. It says it expects the centre to “perform strongly”, given the recovering Irish economy and the centre’s recent €50 million expansion.

“Initial trading has significantly exceeded expectations,” Hammerson said.

Results

Overall the property group said that operating profit was up 4.6 per cent from a year earlier to £832.8m in the year to the end of December, while net asset value per share was up 11.3 per cent to £7.10. The group increased its gearing from 46 to 54 per cent over the year to finance its acquisitions. The group’s Irish portfolio reported a profit before tax for the period of £9.2 million.