It's a sign of the times that just shortly after it emerged that developer Twinlite has broken ground on 372 apartments in Clongriffin, it is followed by news that investment manager Tristan Capital Partners has acquired the entire scheme. The "forward funding" deal for the Dublin 13 scheme is likely to be the highest value residential investment transaction of the year, believed to be worth more than €130 million.
Kennedy Wilson paid about €160 million for 274 existing apartments at The Grange on Stillorgan Road in June. That sale included a 1.64 hectare (3.97 acre) site that is likely to accommodate more than 263 additional apartments. Given that the lands were guiding €30 million and developers have displayed a willingness to pay more than €100,000 per apartment site in desirable locations lately, it is probable that €130 million or less was paid for the apartment element.
Twinlite plans to spend €110 million in total on the Clongriffin project, so logic would indicate that when its own profit is accounted for, the value of the transaction may well exceed the sale of The Grange apartments and significantly outstrip this year’s formerly biggest build-to-rent deal – Irish Life’s €120 million forward funding of Fernbank in Churchtown.
Tristan Capital Partners was the first investor in Ireland’s post-recession era to enter into a large-scale forward funding agreement to acquire 197 apartments at the Neptune Building in Dún Laoghaire in 2016, a year before they were due for completion.
Having paid €72.5 million for those units, it went on to acquire 185 apartments at Elmfield in Leopardstown in two phases for €68.5 million. The Neptune Building currently has just four apartments vacant, equating to a vacancy rate of 2 per cent, and rents of about €2,032 a month are being sought for two-bedroom units. In acquiring the Clongriffin scheme, it will bring its total stock of apartments to 754 units, positioning it as one of Ireland’s biggest landlords.
The deal is a coup for Twinlite, led by Rick Larkin and family, who acquired the Clongriffin site only in recent months with the benefit of full planning permission from UK developer Hollybrook. The Larkins obtained development finance for the project from Activate Capital and quickly began construction. Twinlite expects to complete construction in 2020 and will retain a minority stake in the scheme, while also acting as Tristan Capital Partners’ local operating partner upon completion.