One of the best-located redevelopment opportunities for a retail complex in Dublin city centre comes on the market today when a block of Victorian-style buildings are offered for sale at a heavily discounted price.
James Meagher of Knight Frank is guiding €6 million for the adjoining red-brick buildings at 41-46 South Great George's Street and 51-53 Lower Stephen Street which were bought by the present owners in 2006 for €17 million.
There are two live planning permissions in place for redevelopment. A planning consent dating back to 2006 allows for the demolition of the entire block with the exception of the façade on to South Great George’s Street and part of the façade on Lower Stephen Street and its replacement by a mixture of retail and office facilities extending to 5,177sq m (55,724 sq ft). The permission was extended to July 2016.
More recently – in 2013 – the redevelopment plans were scaled back and a second permission was granted for the refurbishment and extension of the buildings to provide 2,486sq m (26,758sq ft) of retail space in three separate units.
With the South Great George’s Street area and adjoining streets running over to Grafton Street again benefiting from a pick-up in business and increased demand for retail outlets, the odds are that whoever buys the four-storey-over-basement premises will embark on a full redevelopment while preserving the attractive facades. The fact the present building has wooden floors throughout may also help to persuade a purchaser to opt for a full-scale redevelopment.
When the premises last changed hands about eight years ago, the purchasers along with adjoining owners including Dublin City Council (owner of the Drury Street car park) considered redeveloping the entire block running from South Great George's Street into Lower Stephen Street, Drury Street and Fade Street. The plan also envisaged opening up a new street from Drury Street to South William Street to capitalise on the close proximity to Grafton Street.
The 2008 property crash brought discussions to an end.
The buildings for sale were occupied for a century and a half by Dockrells hardware store until it closed in the early 1970s.
The block has been vacant for several years apart from the corner premises occupied by the Jaipur Indian restaurant under a licence agreement which allows the landlord secure vacant possession.
James Meagher says that with a shortage of new retail and office space in Dublin 2, he expected considerable competition for what was a superbly located property.