Johnny Ronan closing in on €220m sale of Dublin docklands apartments

Round Hill Capital pursuing deal with RGRE for purchase of Spencer Place portfolio

An aerial view of the Spencer Place scheme in Dublin’s north docklands

UK-headquartered property investor Round Hill Capital is closing in on the purchase of 349 apartments and a 100-bed aparthotel being developed by Johnny Ronan's Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) in Dublin's north docklands.

Although the transaction has yet to be concluded, the parties are understood to be finalising the terms of a deal which would see the Spencer Place portfolio change hands for around €220 million.

While the proposed price isn't insignificant, it is substantially less than the €315 million RGRE had been in line to secure from the forward sale to US real estate investor Cortland of the larger scheme of 550 apartments and co-living spaces it had proposed for the Spencer Place site.

The proposed deal with Cortland was abandoned however following repeated legal challenges from Dublin City Council in relation to An Bord Pleanála’s approval of RGRE’s plan to accommodate the additional units by increasing the height of two blocks within the development from seven to 11 and 13 storeys respectively. Had that approval remained in place, it would have allowed the developer to deliver an additional 115 apartments and to replace an aparthotel it had proposed previously for Spencer Place with 200 shared bed spaces across a total of 120 bedrooms.


While RGRE will no doubt be happy to have secured Round Hill Capital as purchaser for the Spencer Place portfolio, the limitations imposed on the scheme’s height and number of units have proved to be frustrating and costly for the developer.

The apartments Round Hill is acquiring at Spencer Place have been designed to cater for the upper end of Dublin’s private rented sector (PRS) rental market, and as such will incorporate a range of onsite facilities including a 24-hour concierge, gym, cinema, a rooftop residents’ lounge and garden, private dining spaces and a multimedia room.

The residential units account for just one portion of the 717,000sq ft (66,599sq m) of space RGRE is set to deliver as part of its wider mixed-use campus at Spencer Place. The principal element of the docklands scheme will be Salesforce’s new European headquarter campus. Extending to 39,950sq m (430,000sq ft) of office space across nine floors, the US tech giant’s new Dublin base will be home to up to 3,500 workers. That number would have been increased to 4,500 had RGRE secured approval from Dublin City Council to raise the permitted height of the scheme’s main building, Salesforce Tower, from nine to 13 storeys.

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Property Editor of The Irish Times