Prime Grafton Street pitch for rent

Big fashion retailers to battle it out for one of the best shops in town

One of the best retail pitches on Dublin’s Grafton Street goes on the letting market today when a top international trader is sought for the former A|wear

store, close to Brown Thomas, M&S and BT2.

Letting agent BNP Paribas is expected to target a number of big name fashion retailers, including Hugo Boss, Gant, GAP, Banana Republic, American Eagle and Japanese trader Uniqlo. Although H&M is to open a major new outlet shortly in a former bank building at College Green, there is every likelihood that the group will consider Grafton Street for its upmarket fashion range in And Other Stories, which has recently been rolled out in London and a number of other continental cities.

The five-storey over basement building at 26-27 Grafton Street is the second-largest on the street (after BT2) apart from the department stores, with an overall retail area of 950 sq m (10,225 sq ft) at basement, ground and first-floor levels.

The three upper floors were previously in office use, housing the headquarters of A|wear until it went into receivership last December.

The new trader will have the option of renting the second floor and seeking planning permission to put it into retail use or using it for stores or offices.

If the second floor is included in the letting, it could bring the overall retail area up to 1,270sq m (13,670 sq ft).

While a formal quoting rent has yet to be finalised, the expectation is that the letting agent will be looking for an annual rent in the order of €850,000 to €1 million, depending on which of the two configurations is chosen.

The building is owned by Aviva Investors, which was also involved in the recent Grafton Street letting of the former HMV building to the fashion retailer Massimo Dutti.

Aviva and the pension fund IPUT share ownership of that 1,254sq m (13,500sq ft) building which has been let to the world's biggest clothing group, Inditex, at €865,000, and is due to open later this month.

HMV had been paying a whopping €1.7 million for the building before running into trading difficulties.

Mervyn Ellis of BNP Paribas Real Estate is handling the letting of the former A|wear store, the first time it has come on the market in more than 30 years.

He describes it as “one of the finest retail buildings in Ireland given its layout, location and close proximity to the biggest names on Grafton Street”.

Jones Lang LaSalle is handling the letting of the office space, which extends to 929sq m (10,000sq ft) on the second, third and fourth floors and is accessed from a separate entrance on Lemon Street.

The office space will be available for letting on a floor-by- floor basis or in its entirety.

Aoife Murray of Jones Lang says Aviva plans to carry out a full refurbishment of the office space before reletting it.

The landlords are also about to appoint an architectural practice to advise on the design options for upgrading the façade of the building.

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