Nama to sell vast Dublin 4 complex for €185 million

Elm Park at Merrion Road includes three office blocks and 218 apartments

The long delayed sale of Elm Park, the vast office and residential development at Merrion Road in Dublin 4, is finally to proceed following a decision by Nama to offer the investment for sale on the international market.

Patricia Ward of DTZ Sherry FitzGerald and Fergus O'Farrell of Savills will be seeking over €185 million for the mixed-use portfolio - a long way from the €550 million advanced by the former Anglo Irish Bank to developers Bernard McNamara, Jerry O'Reilly and David Courtney.

The 17.3-acre campus, one of the largest in the city, with a floor area of 750,000sq ft, was virtually completed when the property market crashed in 2008.

Its current rent roll of €9.5 million can be increased in a short time by at least another €6 million when the 16,257sq m (175,000sq ft) Pioneer building at the front of the site is fitted out and let for office use.


It is expected to rent for at least €376.75 per sq m (€35 per sq ft).

The five-to eight-storey block was originally planned as a 168-bedroom hotel and a day-care hospital facility, but with no taker for those facilities and a pent-up demand in the city for high volume office space receivers Duff & Phelps made a strong case to the planners to allow a change of use.

The fact that this landmark building extending across the front of the site has been lying vacant for so long has given the impression to many passersby that the high density development as a whole has been little used.

In fact all three office blocks at the rear and two apartment buildings have been fully occupied for some considerable time.

The only vacant buildings at the rear are a conference centre, leisure centre and swimming pool, all in shell and core condition.

One of the three office blocks, The Quartz Building, with a floor area of 5,760 sq m (62,000 sq ft) , was sold shortly after its completion to Friends First - now trading as F&C Reit - and was subsequently let to global insurance broker Willis and the Indian IT consulting firm Wipro at €263 per sq m (€24.50 per sq ft).

Allianz headquarters

Elm Park has also been the Irish headquarters for Allianz since 2008. The company is paying a rent of €3.9 million for a block extending to 7,803 sq m (84,000 sq ft) - working out at about €484 per sq m (€45 per sq ft).

A slightly larger block with a floor area of 7,896sq m (85,000sq ft) is let to Novartis, the Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company, at a rent roll of €1.46 million-the equivalent of €183 per sq m (€17 per sq ft).

New owners will obviously see the opportunity to substantially increase the rent at the next review.

The two office blocks and the retail facilities account for just in excess of €5.7 million of the total rent roll of €9.5 million.

One of the great features of Elm Park is its superb views from the office blocks over Booterstown marshlands, Merrion Strand and Dublin Harbour in the distance.

There are equally stunning views from many of the apartments over the carefully manicured Elm Park golf course grounds.

Another interesting feature of the development is the exceptionally steep basement level, which can accommodate a high-sided rubbish truck or fire brigade and which includes parking space for at least 850 cars and a few hundred bicycles.

The sale also includes 218 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses, which are fully let and producing a rental income of €3.8 million.

A further 113 apartments were sold on by the development company before the market dried up.

At the front of the site there is the former Bishop’s House, converted into a successful cafe/restaurant.

The sale also includes a creche and eight newly-restored terraced houses at Llandaff Terrace fronting on to Merrion Road, which would attract significant rents in the current market.

Next to the houses, Duff & Phelps have recently been appointed receiver to Tara Towers Hotel.

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan is the former commercial-property editor of The Irish Times