House builder New Generation to split sale of land portfolio

Residential sites in Project Firefly failed to reach target price of up to €350m

Grainne Hollywood, Mike Flannery  and Richard Barrett of Bartra Capital Property: the company is believed to have offered the highest bid of about €225 million.  Photograph: Maxwell Photography

Grainne Hollywood, Mike Flannery and Richard Barrett of Bartra Capital Property: the company is believed to have offered the highest bid of about €225 million. Photograph: Maxwell Photography

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Irish house builder New Generation Homes is believed to be looking at selling its Project Firefly portfolio of residential land in a piecemeal fashion after failing to hits its target price for the group of sites.

Market sources have told The Irish Times that New Generation was seeking between €325 million and €350 million for the 27 sites that it placed up for sale recently.

However, the highest bid it is believed to have received was about €225 million.

This is thought to have been tabled by Richard Barrett’s Bartra Capital, a fund that is targeting the housing market for investment.

Bartra declined to comment on this while a spokesman for New Generation said it had received a much higher bid but declined to give any details.

He said the process had a “few more weeks to run”.

Having failed to receive a bid that came close to its target price, New Generation is understood to have separated out five key sites for sale.

It is thought to have sought €140 million for these lands, with Bartra bidding around €90 million.

The 27 sites are aiming to deliver 2,772 units on 143 acres of land.

End dates

This comprises 860 houses and 1,912 apartments. The estimated construction end dates range from October 2017 to the end of 2021.

The properties being offered for sale include Greenacres in Dundrum, where 119 apartments are proposed on a 3.1 acre site with a gross development value of €48.9 million.

The planning permission for this site has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

The former Europa Motors site in Blackrock, Co Dublin is also in the portfolio.

Some 44 apartments and nine townhouses are proposed for this 1.2 acre site but it was the subject of an appeal to An Bord Pleanála. The estimated gross development value is €28.3 million.

Apartments

It also includes a development under construction in Mount Argus, near Harold’s Cross. Planning has been granted for 212 apartments with an estimated gross development value of €84.3 million.

New Generation is being advised on the sale by the London office of Eastdil Secured, a real estate investment bank.

It is understood that some potential bidders baulked at the price being sought by New Generation.

While the sites are considered to be good, a brochure for the portfolio states that six of them are subject to appeals with An Bord Pleanála while another eight have applications pending.

New Generation was founded in 2011 by Greg Kavanagh and began buying land around Dublin in 2011 when prices were low. It is reported to have spent around €300 million on sites.

This sale was designed to allow it cash in on recent market demand.

New Generation’s financial backer is UK asset manager M&G Investments.

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