Key players show interest in acquiring New Ireland headquarters

Hibernia Reit among companies that have examined building on prime Dublin site

Key players including Hibernia Reit, Hines and Marlet have run their rule over the headquarters building of pensions firm New Ireland, which went on the block earlier this year.

The company's parent, Bank of Ireland, decided in January to sell the pension and insurance firm's building on Dawson Street in Dublin 2, sparking speculation that it could fetch €35 million.

Sources say that Hibernia Reit, the listed real-estate investment trust behind the Windmill Lane complex in Dublin’s docklands, among other projects, has looked at the Dawson Street building.

Another player to have expressed initial interest is understood to be Hines, the multinational that is redeveloping the old Central Bank building on Dame Street and backing the construction of a new suburb in Carrickmines.

Marlet, the residential and commercial developer led by businessman Pat Crean, which has just got permission for more than 500 new homes in Raheny in Dublin, has also been linked to the New Ireland building.

Sources have also speculated that high-profile developer Paddy McKillen has looked at the pension firm’s office.

Formal bids

Bank of Ireland hired property firm Savills as its agent. The sale has not yet reached the formal bid stage. Savills is thought likely to seek bids of about €35 million for the property, based on its location and size – 4,461sq m (48,018sq ft).

Bank of Ireland will sell it with vacant possession as New Ireland intends to move out of the premises later this year.

Reports last month suggested a new owner would almost certainly demolish the building and replace it with a block containing more space for offices with shops at street level.

Dawson Street, which connects Stephen's Green with Nassau Street, has been the focus of a lot of activity recently.

Canada's Toronto-Dominion Bank last month said it would lease space in Green Real Estate Investment Trust's One Molesworth Street on the junction of Dawson and Molesworth streets.

London restaurant the Ivy and British bank Barclays last year committed to renting part of the same building. Across the road on the same junction, property fund Iput pre-let a building to US online retailer and Walmart subsidiary Jet. com for €1.8 million a year, or €60 per square foot.

Close to New Ireland, the Trailfinders block, owned by property developer Gerry Gannon, went on sale late last month at more than €7.75 million.