One of the best development sites in Sandyford has been sold to real estate investor Avestus Capital Partners and asset manager Ares Management for about €38 million. Cushman & Wakefield offered the 3.81 acre site, known as Sandyford Central, for sale last year guiding €36 million on behalf of receivers Duff & Phelps, who were appointed by State agency Nama.
The sale is the highest value development land deal of the year so far and the price, which equates to around 10 million per acre, means that prime site values in the area now stand at about half their €20 million per acre peak values.
The strong price achieved reflects the attractiveness of the site's location, just 100m from the Stillorgan Luas stop, and the fact that the receivers obtained planning permission last year to develop 459 build-to-sell apartments in blocks of up to 14 storeys in height on the site, along with 454 car parking spaces.
While the purchasers are unlikely to avail of the planning permission granted, it established a positive planning precedent that should enable them to obtain permission for a build-to-rent development comprising more than 500 units, with a much-reduced parking provision.
The vendor’s consultants identified that 539 apartments could be accommodated on the site based on changes in national apartment design guidelines that were introduced last March. That figure could potentially be further increased if the developers aim to build higher, following the removal of the cap on building heights that came into force last December.
The Dublin 18 site formed part of an 11-plus acre landholding assembled by Cork developer John Fleming during the Celtic Tiger property boom for a reported €245 million, on which he intended to develop a scheme with multiple phases named Rockbrook. Parts of the development were built, or partially built, prior to the market's collapse.
Ires Reit snapped up the majority of the scheme, acquiring 335 of the 419 apartments, commercial units and a 1.13 hectare (2.8 acre) development site. The Comer Group paid just €850,000 for Sentinel Building, an unfinished 14-storey tower, that was built on a portion of Fleming's site.
Prices for prime Sandyford sites have rebounded significantly in recent years as the area is once again experiencing a flurry of activity with developers vying to deliver new offices, hotels, apartments and student accommodation. Ires Reit, Prime Living, Esprit Investments, Aldgate Developments and other leading investors and developers are driving new projects in the Sandford Industrial Estate.
Between Ires Reit's latest plans to build 428 rental units at their Rockbrook site and Avestus' likely ambitions for more than 500 apartments next door, those two sites alone may well deliver nearly 1,000 new apartments in all. With both sites situated in close proximity to the Stillorgan Luas stop, the apartments, when built, will likely appeal to tenants seeking ease of access to the city centre and also those working locally for major employers such as Microsoft.