Google spends €65m for third property on Barrow Street

Nama sells four Dublin office buildings for €165m, a 37.5% premium on guide

The National Asset Management Agency has agreed the sale of four office buildings in Dublin for a combined €165 million, which would represent a premium of 37.5 per cent on the guide price sought by the agency for the portfolio, dubbed Project Platinum.

The buildings include Grand Mill Quay on Barrow Street, which is set to be sold to Google for €65 million. The internet giant already owns three buildings on Barrow Street, for which it paid a combined €211 million.

Joint agents Knight Frank and CBRE were quoting €42.4 million for Grand Mill Quay, which has a floor area of 96,500sq ft and 109 car-parking spaces. It is currently producing a rent roll of €3.59 million, with tenants including Willis, Blackrock, Lee Overlay & Partners and Google.

It was built by Kerry developer Bernard McNamara and is being managed by receiver Declan Taite of RSM Farrell Grant Sparks. The sale to Google is expected to be finalised in the next couple of weeks.


Another expansion?
Google's purchase of the building will fuel speculation that it could be gearing up for another expansion of its Irish operation, where it employs 2,500 staff.

The other three buildings are believed to have been sold to private equity group Blackstone for €100 million. These are Hume House in Ballsbridge and two properties on Sir John Rogerson's Quay in Dublin – the Bloodstone Building and Block B, Riverside 4. These were put on the market for a combined €77.8 million.

All were connected with developer Seán Dunne and have been in receivership since July 2011, when Paul McCann of Grant Thornton was appointed. The sale of the three properties is expected to be completed in the next 10 days.

Hume House was acquired by Mr Dunne in 2006 for €130 million and is regarded as the most expensive property deal in Ireland on a price-per-acre basis. It is an eight storey over basement office block on a site of 0.865 acres. Planning permission was granted in 2010 to demolish Hume House and replace it with a nine-storey block.

Sales premium
It is not clear how much Nama paid for the loans, which were transferred to it by the Irish- owned banks more than three years ago, but it is believed to have secured a premium from these sales.

This sale process also marks a strong start to the year for Nama. It announced last week that it generated €5.8 billion in cash in 2013, including €3.8 billion from assets disposals. Total cash generated since the first loan transfers took place in March 2010 amounted to €16.5 billion.

Nama, Google and Blackstone all declined to comment yesterday on the sale process.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times