Irish Life to pre-fund extra £15m development at Citywest


Irish Life is to pre-fund another £15 million worth of developments at Citywest Business Park in west Dublin. The company is thought to have paid around £150,000 per acre for 15 acres on which it is planned to provide almost 250,000 square feet of commercial buildings. Irish Life is to hold on to most of the buildings as long-term investments. Some of the smaller units are likely to be sold to owner-occupiers.

Irish Life is budgeting for a yield of up to 9 per cent on the investments.

The high-tech buildings will have an average office content of 35 per cent and will be available for renting at £6.75 per square foot. Last year, Irish Life pre-funded about 220,000 square feet of development at the park at a cost of around £12 million. The buildings include one of 100,000 square feet, which is let to Saturn, another of 45,000 square feet for ACT-Signamax and 30,000 square feet for Donnelly. The rents achieved were about £6.25 per square foot.

Meanwhile, another institutional investor, Bank of Ireland Asset Managers, is pre-funding 120,000 square feet of office developments in the park at a cost of around £15 million. The blocks include one of 30,000 square feet, which is due to be completed in the coming weeks. Two further buildings of 45,000 square feet will then be developed. The agents are seeking rents of around £12.50 for this accommodation.

Allied Irish Investment Managers and New Ireland Assurance also hold investments in Citywest. The developer, Davy Hickey, has already completed about 500,000 square feet of buildings on the park over the past 2 1/2 years which are occupied by German, Japanese, American, Canadian and Irish companies.

The most significant Irish deal concluded this year involved Telecom Eireann, which is to develop a £20 million business services and technology centre at an overall cost of £20 million. A high-tech building of 30,000 square feet will initially be developed on six acres of land which have been acquired for around £1 million. Telecom's choice of Citywest for its new generation technology centre is a strong endorsement for the business park. The site will eventually accommodate up to 100,000 square feet of buildings.

Jones Lang Wootton advised Davy Hickey on the latest prefunding deal and Palmer McCormack acted for Irish Life.