Layden Group looks to further reduce bank holdings with sale of two branches

Ballina branch is quoting €3.6m, Whitehall branch with development potential up for €1.1m

 

Property and investment company the Layden Group will be left with just two bank branches in its portfolio should the sale of two branches it is bringing to market go ahead.

The group, which acquired 29 bank branches before the property crash in 2007, has been steadily selling down its bank branch holdings for some time now. Its latest move is to bring to market a Bank of Ireland branch in Ballina, Co Mayo, quoting €3.6 million, and a former branch in Whitehall, Dublin 9, quoting €1.1 million.

According to a spokesman, the group retains just four branches, which will reduce to two should the properties in Ballina and Dublin sell. The two it will retain are Bank of Ireland Fermoy and a branch on O’Connell Street in Limerick.

The Whitehall branch came to the market as an individual sale back in May this year at a guide price of €900,000. The asking price has now increased to €1,180,000, however, as the company received offers in and around this price at the time, although that sale fell through.

The property, at 85-87 Swords Road, operated as a branch of Bank of Ireland for many years, and remains let to the bank until June 2022 at a rent of €112,000 a year. It offers the prospective purchaser the flexibility to either redevelop the property or to re-let it once the current lease expires in June 2022, although it is now being marketed, by Hooke & MacDonald, as a redevelopment opportunity primarily.

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Terraced building

It comprises a two-storey double-fronted terraced building laid out as a banking hall on the ground floor (205sq m/2,206sq ft) with offices and a canteen (112sq m/1,206sq ft) on the first floor.

Full planning permission has been granted by An Bord Pleanála for the redevelopment of the property to provide new ground-floor retail accommodation of 386sq m (4,155sq ft). On the first floor, there is planning for four one-bedroom apartments and two one-bedroom plus-study apartments.

Bank of Ireland still operates the second branch in Ballina, the county town of Mayo, which is being brought to the market at a guide price of €3,612,059. The property is let to Bank of Ireland until 2032 on a 25-year full repairing and insuring lease from July 1st, 2007, at a current rent of €216,081 a year, indicating a yield of 6 per cent.

The lease is subject to five yearly upward only rent reviews.

It is a three-storey period building fronting onto Pearse Street, with a modern single storey extension to the rear. The ground floor, which has access to Pearse Street, Moy Lane and the rear car park is laid out as a banking hall with ancillary offices. The upper floors are laid out as offices, staff canteen and storage space

The property is being sold directly by the Layden Group.

Divestment

The property group, which is a family company, hit the headlines earlier this year when it agreed not to charge rent to tenants of the George’s Street Arcade in Dublin who were forced to shut due to Covid restrictions, suggesting that it would be “immoral” to do so.

The group is now in the process of divesting some of its property portfolio. It recently completed the sale of Boole House in Clonskeagh, a three-storey office block within the Beech Hill Office Campus for €9 million. It acquired the property in 2010 for €9.25 million.

According to the company, it is looking to divert about €15-€20 million into green energy, ideally tidal wave.

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