Union Investment pays over €200m for 435 Dublin apartments

German investor strikes forward-funding deal with Ballymore at Royal Canal Park

The German investor Union Investment has paid over €200 million to acquire 435 apartments and a health centre being developed by Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Group at Royal Canal Park in Ashtown, Dublin 15.

The agreement of the forward-funding deal for the 8th Lock portfolio will be seen as a significant vote of confidence by international investors in the capital’s private rented sector (PRS) market, coming as it does in the face of the ongoing uncertainty being caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Notably, the transaction is Union’s first investment in the Irish residential market, and one of its first residential deals in Europe.

The German-headquartered fund manager’s purchase of the apartments at Royal Canal Park brings the overall value of its real estate holdings in Ireland to €770 million. The remainder of Union’s Irish portfolio is comprised of six prime Dublin office assets boasting a combined value of €570 million, which it acquired between 2015 and January 2020.

These include Amazon's European headquarters at the Shannon Building on Burlington Road in Dublin 4 and Facebook's current European headquarters at 4 & 5 Grand Canal Square in the city's south docklands.

While Union’s move into the area of residential investment marks a variation of its strategy and a deepening of its involvement in the Irish property market, its decision to invest with Ballymore is understood to have been informed by the developer’s financial stability and its track record of delivering high-quality schemes in Ireland and in the UK.

Construction of the 435 apartments Union has acquired will get under way as soon as the Government’s Covid-19 guidelines allow. The development represents the final phase of 1,630 homes at Royal Canal Park, and is expected to take three years to complete.

Upon delivery the 8th Lock will comprise 218 one-bedroom and 217 two-bedroom apartments, and 4,200sq m (45,208sq ft) of commercial and amenity space.

Situated on the site of the former Ormond Printworks on Ratoath Road, the scheme is also set to include public plazas, a healthcare centre, pharmacy, own-door offices and a gym. Some 255 car parking spaces, electric vehicle charging points, disabled parking and nearly 950 bicycle parking spaces will be provided at surface and under-croft levels.

While the wider Royal Canal Park development is already well connected thanks to its proximity to Ashtown train station, the Luas cross-city line and numerous Dublin Bus routes, the opening of a new train station this year at Pelletstown is expected to reduce the commute time to Dublin city centre to just 25 minutes.

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Acting Property Editor of The Irish Times

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