Hong Kong family backs Central Bank building buy

Peterson Group are co-buyers of Dame Street landmark and former INBS headquarters

The Central Bank on Dame Street, Dublin, along with a number of adjoining properties, is thought to have realised in the region of €67 million. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

The Central Bank on Dame Street, Dublin, along with a number of adjoining properties, is thought to have realised in the region of €67 million. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

A company owned by one of Hong Kong’s 50 richest families has emerged as the joint buyer of two landmark Dublin buildings synonymous with the country’s financial crisis: the Central Bank buildings on Dame Street and the former Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) headquarters.

Peterson Group, set up in 1959 by Yeung Pui Kam in Hong Kong initially to trade Chinese tablecloths and embroidered fabrics internationally, is acquiring the properties for more than €100 million in conjunction with US real-estate firm Hines, which was previously known to be the winning bidder for the buildings.

The deals mark Peterson Group’s first investments in Ireland and also its first partnership with Hines, which has been actively buying Irish commercial property since the onset of the financial crisis.

Peterson Group, which has evolved into a real-estate and financial investment firm, is now run by Mr Yeung’s grandson, Tony Yeung. The family’s wealth is estimated at $1.1 billion by Forbes, ranking 47 among Hong Kong’s wealthiest.

“Hines and Peterson Group are currently considering future plans for the Central Bank buildings ahead of taking control of the property,” the two companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Adjoining annex

The main building in Dublin’s city centre was constructed in 1978 and designed by architect Sam Stephenson. The sale includes the adjoining annex, commercial buildings and numbers 6-9 College Green. The Central Bank said the properties realised in the region of €67 million.

The Central Bank plans to have 1,450 of its 1,600 staff based in its new headquarters on Dublin’s North Wall Quay, which was once earmarked as the head office of now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank, by the end of March.

Meanwhile, the former INBS headquarters, at 2 Grand Parade in Dublin 6, is currently fully leased to US technology group Amazon. The 1.7 acre site includes an office building comprising eight storeys, which was also previously the former headquarters of PJ Carroll’s cigarette company, and floor space of 4,830sq m (52,000sq ft).

The Irish Times reported in November that the former INBS property sale price was in the region of €37 million, some €22 million above what UK property group London & Regional Properties had paid for it at the end of 2013.