Irish Life has agreed to sell a Dublin docklands building where law firm Matheson has its headquarters to the real-estate arm of German asset manager Deka Group for about €125 million, according to sources.
The off-market deal cements Deka Immobilien’s position as one of the most active buyers of Irish commercial property in the past five years.
Spokesmen for Irish Life and Deka Immobilien declined to comment. Irish Life and a number of other pensions and savings managers moved early last year to restrict investors taking money out of property funds following a spike in client withdrawals amid economic uncertainty caused by Covid-19. Six-month notice periods remain in place for investors seeking to withdraw money from certain Irish Life property funds. The proceeds from this sale would support cash levels.
The agreed transaction comes less than a year after Matheson signed a new 12-year lease on the 12,355sq m (133,000sq ft) seven-story over basement building, called Riverside IV, on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay overlooking the Liffey. It has rented the property since 2007.
Riverside IV was originally developed by Sean Dunne and sold in 2006 in part exchange for the Irish Life-owned Hume House next to his extensive former Jurys hotel site in Ballsbridge. The Matheson block was valued at the time at €170 million.
Irish Life sought in 2009 to sell a 50 per cent stake in the building for about €50 million but pulled the sale a year later.
Offices and hotels
Deka Immobilien has been among the most active bidders in the Irish office and hotels market in recent years. Last year, it acquired the Baggot Plaza property, which Bank of Ireland has been renting since 2015, from Kennedy Wilson for €165 million, and purchased the Clayton Hotel Charlemont from Dalata Hotel Group in a sale-and-leaseback deal for €65 million.
In 2019, Deka Immobilien acquired the Marker hotel in Dublin for €134 million, adding to its collection of other Irish hotel assets, also including the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road and The Gibson Hotel, which were acquired since 2016. The German company entered the Dublin office market in late 2019 with the purchase of the Reflector office building in the south docklands for about €155 million.