MKN buys East Wall site suitable for 9,000sq m office and apartment scheme

Car showroom site could alternatively be used for commercial space and 178 hotel rooms

MKN Property Group has acquired a 0.38 hectare (0.85 acre) site on East Wall Road, Dublin 3. The property was occupied by the Canavan Ford & Seat car showroom, which is relocating to the North Circular Road, and was marketed for sale in recent months by the McCormick agency with a guide price of €6 million.

While the final selling price remains unconfirmed, the guide price, which equates to about €15.8 million per hectare, may well have been exceeded given the growing popularity of sites in East Wall, as evidenced by Glenveagh’s purchase of a nearby two-hectare site in December 2017 for reportedly more than €20 million per hectare.

Feasibility assessment

A feasibility assessment carried out by the vendor identified two options for the site, including a development of 9,000sq m (96,875sq ft) of commercial space in addition to 101 apartments. Alternatively, 178 hotel rooms could be accommodated instead of the apartment element. This feasibility assessment was carried out prior to December 2019, when the cap on heights for urban developments were effectively removed and therefore MKN may well secure permission for a higher development capable of accommodating a greater number of units when it lodges a planning application.

MKN is active in both commercial and residential developments, but the company is synonymous with its various residential developments in desirable north Dublin locations, including Clontarf and Sutton, and was recently granted planning permission for a luxury apartment development on Vernon Avenue in Clontarf. The company has continued to develop residential properties for individual resale, but it may well opt to explore the lucrative build-to-rent market with its new East Wall Road site, given the site's capacity to accommodate a significant quantum of apartments and its central location, in close proximity to employers such as Facebook.



Elsewhere in Dublin's south city centre, a well-seasoned investor has emerged as the purchaser of a prime site. On Pembroke Lane in Dublin 2, the Lambert Smith Hampton agency achieved €4.75 million at auction for a 0.088 hectare (0.22 acre) carpark last November. Esprit Investments, the investment vehicle whose majority shareholder is Eric Kinsella of Jones Engineering, has been identified as the purchaser.

Given the price paid, which equates to about €54 million per hectare, Esprit likely has long-term development ambitions for the site, which is currently laid out as 34 car-parking spaces. The site enjoys views over the Grand Canal and is situated just a short distance from Esprit’s most recent development, Waterways House. Constructed at a cost of €30 million, the prime office block is fully occupied.