Johnny Ronan group set to buy docklands site for €170m

Venture firm is top bidder for last waterfront site in Dublin’s north docklands

CGI of the proposed development. The office element  has planning permission for 10 years, while the apartments have five years.

CGI of the proposed development. The office element has planning permission for 10 years, while the apartments have five years.

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A joint venture company formed by the Irish property developer Johnny Ronan and US investment group Colony Capital has emerged as top bidder for the last remaining waterfront development site in Dublin’s north docklands. The sale price is believed to have been in excess of €170 million.

Located close to the 3 Arena, the 4.6-acre “Project Waterfront” holding includes two adjacent sites with planning permission for 420 apartments and four office blocks extending to 17,891sq m (300,216sq ft).

The planning approval provides for the apartments to be developed in two buildings ranging in height from six to 11 stories. Recent changes in the planning guidelines are expected to open the way for a higher apartment density in both blocks.

The office element of the development has been granted a 10-year planning permission from December 2017,while the apartments have a five-year planning guideline.

Underbidders for the development sites are believed to have included Hibernia Reit, Kennedy Wilson, Glenveagh and Marlet. Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore and its Singapore partner Oxley, which are well advanced on the adjoining Dublin Landings development of a vast office, apartment and retail development, did not bid on the project.

Colony Capital has had a close working relationship with Mr Ronan since it backed his exit from Nama after the currency crisis. Only weeks ago Colony was reported to have bought about €80 million of loans advanced to Mr Ronan, which were used to purchase a prime site in Dublin 4 that has been earmarked for Facebook’s new international headquarters.

The Irish Times reported at the time that buying the loans secured on the site, adjacent to AIB Bankcentre headquarters in Ballsbridge, puts Colony in prime position to fund the estimated €200 million build-out of a new 330,000sq ft scheme known as Fibonacci Square.

It is generally believed that a deal for Facebook to move to Ballsbridge is imminent.

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