The much delayed sale of the PricewaterhouseCoopers headquarters at One Spencer Dock on Dublin's North Wall Quay has had yet another major setback with the decision by the US property dealer Hines not to proceed with the planned purchase of Ireland's largest single office investment.
PwC has, meanwhile, agreed to sub-let a sizeable part of its offices to an American health promotion company.
Hines has fronted several substantial property acquisitions in the Dublin area in recent years and after an unusually long due diligence which began at the end of January, they were expected to proceed with the purchase of the PwC HQ for around €242 million.
That is not now to happen after company officials indicated that they would not be proceeding with the deal. Hines had been expected to purchase the riverfront offices on a joint venture basis with German pension funds.
The Hines senior managing director in Dublin, Brian Moran, said he had "no comment" to make when contacted by The Irish Times.
One of two other international investment companies which also bid for the riverfront office development is now to be invited to pitch for it in discussions with selling agents CBRE and Savills.
The nine-storey over basement PwC office complex is the most spacious in the city with an overall floor area of 21,054sq m (226,624sq ft). The three interlinking blocks were developed by the now defunct Treasury Holdings.
The office space is let to PwC under 25-year lease which include upwards-only rent reviews every five years. The leases have more than 15 years to run.
The overall rent was reported to be more than €11 million per annum – equating to close to €538 per sq m (€50 per sq ft).
That rent level has also been achieved on a number of other new developments in the city and is likely to be exceeded when Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Developments and the Singapore company Oxley develop more than 50,000sq m (540,000sq ft) of offices close by on North Wall Quay.
In the meantime, the US-based United Health Group has agreed to pay close to the same rent level for almost 4,180sq m (45,000sq ft) over four floors in Block C of the PwC head office. The new lease will run for 10 years. A small proportion of other on-site office space is already sub-let to ABN Amro and Ecclesiastical Insurance.
United Health Group employs over 650 people across sites in Letterkenny, Donegal and Dublin, and is noted for its capabilities in clinical care and information and technology to meet the needs of a changing healthcare environment.