US investor acquires IFSC student residences for €35.6m

Exeter Property Group buys 286-bed scheme beside National College of Ireland campus

The student residences are located next to the National College of Ireland’s IFSC campus in Dublin

The student residences are located next to the National College of Ireland’s IFSC campus in Dublin


US-based Exeter Property Group has acquired the student residences at the National College of Ireland (NCI) in Dublin’s IFSC for a sum believed to be € 35.6 million.

When the residences were developed it is understood that NCI had a call option to purchase them 10 years after completion of the development, or by September 2013 at the latest, for € 24.9 million. NCI did not exercise the option and Northern Ireland property developer Padraig Drayne subsequently acquired control of the scheme. Mr Drayne is best known in Ireland for his business partnership with investor Paddy McKillen, including the development of Dublin’s Jervis Street shopping centre.

Adrasta Commercial, a company that is ultimately controlled by Mr Drayne according to its public accounts, acquired a 95 per cent interest in the NCI student residences development. The exact date of acquisition is unknown, but the company was incorporated in August 2014 and it is known that it acquired its interest in the property between that date and December 2015. Mr Drayne personally owned the remaining 5 per cent interest in the property.

An entry in the property price register suggests € 35.6 million was paid in total by Exeter Property Group in November 2019. Assuming this represents the entire consideration paid, Adrasta Commercial has more than doubled its money given its 95 per cent share of the sales proceeds would amount to € 33.82 million while it is understood the company paid just under € 15.2 million for its interest. The 53 apartments in the scheme are understood to comprise 286 bedrooms, each with en-suite bathrooms, and on this basis the recent deal breaks back at roughly € 124,475 per bedroom.

The student residences were originally developed by the Origin 8 partnership, comprising defunct builder Pierse Contracting, the family of developer Paddy Kelly and the McCormack family, who head Alanis Capital.

In 2014 Exeter Property Group began acquiring Irish properties, including a large number of industrial properties spread across various industrial estates in Dublin and its environs. In 2018, the company reportedly acquired the Cúirt Na Coiribe student accommodation scheme in Galway for € 35 million.

The company did not respond to a request for comment regarding the NCI student residences transaction.