Lioncor acquires Chatham House block off Grafton Street

Nama appointed a receiver over the site in 2011, who in 2015 secured planning permission for 14 apartments, a retail unit and a restaurant

 

Chatham House, a retail and office block situated just metres from Grafton Street and the Westbury Hotel, looks set to be redeveloped in the immediate future having been acquired in recent weeks by Irish house-builder Lioncor Developments, a joint venture between Alanis Capital and Oaktree Capital.

The site was last sold in 2003 to a company that formed part of developer Bernard McNamara’s empire. It is believed that Mr McNamara spent €12.7 million acquiring the landmark 0.05 hectare (0.13 acre) property including purchase costs. This represented a net initial yield of about 3.71 per cent, reflecting the property’s evident redevelopment potential and prime location.

Following the property market’s collapse Nama appointed a receiver over the site in 2011, who went on to secure planning permission in 2015 for 14 spacious apartments, a retail unit and restaurant on the site.

Lioncor, led by chief executive John Maxwell, has now acquired it for an undisclosed sum, and is understood to be considering its options, including the immediate implementation of the extant planning permission or potentially seeking permission for a revised scheme.

The property enjoys significant frontage on to Balfe Street, Chatham Lane and Chatham Street. It is situated across the street from Chatham Court, a development under construction that will comprise five retail units, offices and six apartments when completed in 2020. That development is the second phase of an overall scheme known as Chatham & King, which was acquired by Hines last year from private equity giant Lone Star in a deal worth about €150 million.

Last occupant

Lioncor for its part will gain vacant possession of Chatham House later this month when the last occupant is due to vacate the building, paving the way for its demolition.

Retailer Great Outdoors, a leading supplier of outdoor clothing and equipment, was based in Chatham House for over four decades until recently relocating to South Great George’s Street. The retailer set up shop just months after businessman Ernest Ottewell developed the property in 1975.

Aside from Chatham House, Lioncor’s expanding development portfolio includes two prime apartment sites on Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, a sold-out new housing scheme on Taney Road, Dundrum, and a boutique housing development named Condor on Killiney’s Church Road.

Outside of Dublin it is developing the Leana Theas estate in Knocknacarra, Galway, and Castlebrook Manor in Castletroy, Limerick.