New Generation may sell residential sites in Dublin

Company amassed land around Dublin in 2011 when prices hit their lowest point

New Generation Homes, led by Greg Kavanagh and Pat Crean, is weighing the sale of a number of its residential sites to cash in on market demand.

The company has amassed a large number of commercial and residential sites around Dublin since it first began trading in 2011 and plans to build 1,000 houses and apartments.

New Generation confirmed on Friday that it had hired real estate bank Eastdil Secured to advise the company on the options for a number of its residential sites, including the possibility of a sale. "This follows a number of unsolicited approaches from interested parties in recent weeks," it said.

Chief executive Mr Crean said the move was a response to inquiries from other developers who were seeking sites where they could begin building houses immediately.

"The company is continuing to build homes on a number of sites. In December we began work on more than 200 apartments in Dublin 6, and next month will be bringing 21 family homes in Harolds Grange to market," he said.

Paul Taylor of New Generation's financial backer, UK asset manager M&G Investments, said it supported the plan. "The Dublin property market is very dynamic and, in view of the high level of interest in a number of the sites in the portfolio, we think it appropriate that the company should consider its strategic options which may involve a sale of a number of sites."

The properties that it is considering selling are in the Dublin area and at various stages of planning.

Both Mr Crean and Mr Taylor said that New Generation itself will continue to buy sites in coming months.

The capital is one of the areas worst hit by the Republic’s housing shortage, which is a direct consequence of the slump in building during the recession. The squeeze is driving strong demand for suitable sites.

Founded by Mr Kavanagh, New Generation began buying land in Dublin’s hinterland in 2011 when prices hit their lowest point since the crash three years previously.

Since then it has spent more than €300 million on development sites in and around the capital, many of them at a fraction of their current value, but it has since shifted focus from property deals to building homes and offices.

The overall cost of its development proposals could run into €2 billion, although this is likely to be spread over several years as it takes different projects through planning and into construction.

It is shortly expected to seek permission from the city council for a €250 million office and apartment complex in Dublin’s south docklands.

The company owns a site that stretches from the waterfront along Lime Street to Hanover Street East and takes in the area that An Post occupies across from the Grand Canal Theatre. New Generation intends building 400,000sq feet of offices and 200 apartments there.

Mr Crean and Mr Kavanagh recently indicated that it had already received approaches from a number of potential tenants for the offices.

The development is designed to exploit demand for grade A offices and new homes in the capital.