British property group U+I and joint venture partners, Colony Capital, have moved to expand their Dublin 4 office portfolio with the purchase of 23 Shelbourne Road for a sum understood to be in excess of €25 million.
The figure represents a significant return on the €18 million Friends First paid to secure ownership of the property in 2016. Having acquired the building, Friends First, which is now part of the Aviva Group, secured several new lettings for the premises following a comprehensive programme of refurbishment.
The tenants at number 23 now include Ikea's treasury section, Fami Ltd, Scale-up Systems, Belfius Bank and non-bank lender Finance Ireland.
Commenting on the sale of the Ballsbridge property's to U+I and Colony Capital, Claire Solon, head of property at Aviva, said: "The disposal of Shelbourne Road is part of the realisation of value within the portfolio following the value-add initiatives undertaken on the property and represents a very satisfactory return for our policy holders."
U+I has been active in the Irish commercial property market for seven years now. The group's first major undertaking in Dublin saw it joining forces in 2012 with developers Johnny Ronan and Paddy McKillen to deliver the 172,000 sq ft Vertium Building on nearby Burlington Road. Today, the property is home to the European headquarters of Amazon, having been let in its entirety to the online retail giant prior to its completion.
Closer to Shelbourne Road, U+I is set to commence work shortly on the refurbishment and extension of the landmark Carrisbrook House.
U+I and Colony acquired the building, which is best known as the home of the Israeli embassy, for €23.5 million in 2016. The price represented a relative bargain compared to the €46 million developers Bernard McNamara, Jeremiah O'Reilly and the late David Courtney had previously paid to secure ownership of the property in 2007.
U+I’s plan for Carrisbrook House will see the addition of 25,467 sq ft of new office space along with a 1,442 sq ft café on the ground floor and a rooftop terrace. Elsewhere in the capital, the developer is nearing completion on the 73,000 sq ft Hive building in the Sandyford Business District (SBD).
Arlene Van Bosch, U+I’s development director for Dublin, described the purchase of 23 Shelbourne Road as “another exciting step” for the group.
“Dublin is a key market for us, and a market that shows real demand for the type of creativity, social conscience and ambition that we bring to all our projects,” she said.
Aviva’s Friends First Commercial Property Fund, for its part, is currently engaged in major redevelopment works at Blackrock in south Dublin with the ongoing construction of new offices at Enterprise House which is pre-let to Zurich, along with the refurbishment of the adjacent Blackrock Shopping Centre.