Six-acre Dublin docklands site on market for €50m

Land has planning permission for hotel, offices and apartment development


One of the largest stretches of development land likely to come on the market in Dublin this year, a six-acre waterfront site at Spencer Dock in the north Dublin docklands, is expected to be of interest to Irish and overseas investors when it comes on the market today.

Joint selling agents JLL and BNP Paribas Real Estate are guiding €50 million for the land, which is likely to be used for a mixed development between PwC’s headquarters and the planned new Central Bank headquarters.

The land forms part of a larger site originally owned by CIÉ at Spencer Dock which was due to be developed by Treasury Holdings before the market collapsed and the company was wound up. Receivers Luke Charleton and David Hughes of EY have now been appointed by Nama to handle the sale.

The site has planning permission for a 169-bedroom hotel, more than 31,580sq m (340,000sq ft) of offices and 165 apartments, with further scope for additional facilities.

CIE is also set to benefit from the sale, having retained a freehold interest in ground leases at the former railway yard which extends to more than 50 acres. The State transport company is understood to be entitled to either 17.5 per cent of the sale price or a similar stake in ground leases where buildings are completed and let. Treasury had developed only 20 of the 50 acres it had a lean on in Spencer Dock by the time the market crashed.

Located within the Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), and zoned for a mixed-use development, the site will almost certainly be used for a new urban quarter adjacent to the Spencer Dock development. The land is divided in two by the red Luas line on Mayor Street Upper. The southern portion, overlooking the River Liffey, is earmarked for the commercial element. The 169-bed hotel will be located within the former London and North Western Hotel dating back to the 1800s, with an interlinking eight-storey modern extension.

In addition to the hotel, there will be two high-quality office buildings. The front block will provide almost 16,722sq m (180,000sq ft) of offices over nine floors including a penthouse with views over docklands. The second office block to be located at the rear of the hotel will have 14,864sq m (160,000sq ft) over seven floors with community and retail facilities at street level.

The northern section has planning for a six-storey multifamily development providing 165 high-quality apartments with landscaped communal areas. A breakdown shows 23 of the apartments will be one-bedroom units; there will be 117 two-bedroom homes and 25 three-bedroom units. The scheme will include parking for 90 cars and 186 bicycles. The agents say there will also be scope for additional development on the portion of the site fronting on to Mayor Street.

Luke Charleton, joint receiver with David Hughes of EY, says the site has the potential to house two large headquarters for businesses looking to locate in this area. “We expect a great deal of interest both from local and international investors.”

Des Lennon says the timing of the sale is favourable given the current shortage of new office space and apartments in Dublin. The developers who secured the site could capitalise on the strong demand from the occupier markets. Further endorsement comes from Mark Forrest of BNP, who says the scale, location and zoning of the site is an opportunity not to be missed for the redevelopment of a large mixed-use site in the docklands.