Real estate group Kennedy Wilson Europe (KWE) wants to more than double the number of residential units it has available for let in Ireland to about 5,000 in the next three to four years, its chief operating officer said on Monday.
KWE currently has 2,100 units in Ireland either built or subject to planning permission for construction.
Speaking to the media at the launch of phase two of its Clancy Quay residential development near the Phoenix Park in Dublin, KWE's Peter Collins said: "We would have ambitions to significantly grow that, mostly through building units. I'd be disappointed if we didn't have 5,000 units in the medium term in Ireland. That would be a logical next step."
He said this would take “three to four years” to achieve. “It obviously takes a number of years for construction.”
Mr Collins said KWE would need to purchase sites to achieve its goal. “We would have to acquire to get the additional 3,000, which is something we’re actively looking at. There are sites and we will look very closely at those over the next few years.”
He noted that there were about 300,000 private residential units in the State at present, with KWE currently accounting for less than 1 per cent of that stock. “This industry [professional investors] is very much at its very early stage of development [in Ireland].”
Former military barracks
KWE on Tuesday unveiled the second phase of its development at Clancy Quay, a former military barracks on 13 acres that was previously used by both the British and Irish armies. This latest phase of the scheme involved 163 new houses and apartments at an estimated cost of more than €55 million.
These add to the existing 423 existing units on the site, which are now almost fully let, with prices ranging from €1,750 for a one-bed unit to more than €2,000 for two- or three-bed units, depending on their specification.
KWE has submitted a planning application for a third phase at the site, comprising 259 units on 2.8 acres. If completed, it would make Clancy Quay the largest rented residential scheme in Ireland with 845 units by 2020.
Mr Collins said KWE has no plans to sell off any of its residential projects in Ireland. “I think you’ll see us owning this [Clancy Quay] for a very long time,” he said.
The latest units at Clancy Quay comprise both converted former army barracks and new buildings. All units feature high-quality interior design finishes, fitted kitchens and balconies or terraces.
To date, KWE has spent more than €1 billion on acquisitions and some €500 million on developing its sites.