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Sale of Dublin Airport car park cleared for take-off at €70m

Former Quickpark has 6,122 long-stay spaces and is only privately-owned car park permitted to serve the airport

With all eyes now on the pressures being faced by Dublin Airport as its staff and infrastructure contend with the rapid rebound in passenger numbers following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, developer Gerry Gannon’s sale of the former Quickpark car park should attract heightened attention from investors. The property, which is the only privately-owned car park permitted by Fingal County Council to provide parking for the airport, is being offered to the market on behalf of Gerard Gannon Properties by joint agents Knight Frank and Colliers at a guide price of €70 million.

Situated off junction 4 of the M50, the car park is accessible from the national road network while direct access to Dublin city centre is provided via the Swords Road and the Dublin Tunnel. The M1 meanwhile offers a direct connection to Belfast in about 90 minutes.

While other European airports enjoy the benefit of direct rail connections, Dublin Airport does not which makes the provision of short- and long-term car parking facilities essential. The widely reported taxi shortage in the city and the fact that only 14 per cent of licensed taxis are permitted to operate at the airport reinforces that need, as does the fact that 53.4 per cent of cars accessing the airport originate from outside Dublin. The much-anticipated MetroLink service meanwhile is not expected to contribute to any reduction in the need for parking until at least 2034, its latest expected completion date.

In the meantime passenger numbers at Dublin Airport are returning to pre-pandemic levels. Currently, 25 airlines provide routes to 180 destinations with 25 million passengers expected to pass through its arrival and departure gates in 2022. Just over 2.6 million passengers travelled through the airport in May; 87 per cent of the numbers seen in May 2019. In 2019, passenger numbers reached 32.9 million, of which approximately 30.7 million started and ended their journeys at Dublin Airport.

The former Quickpark facility comprises an L-shaped land holding which extends to a site area of 16.9 hectares (41.76 acres). Full planning permission has been granted for the construction of a new entrance building with office space for staff and 6,122 long-stay car-parking spaces. Currently, there is a single access point controlled by six automated barriers. Works have recently been completed to regrade the parking areas and upgrade internal access roads. Three-phase power is in place with street lighting, while covered bus stops are distributed around the car park. There is a security office on site.

The car park’s attractiveness as an investment is significantly enhanced by the fact that its 6,122 spaces account for 23 per cent of the 26,800 spaces allowed for by Fingal County Council in its assessment of the parking needs of Terminal 2. The Dublin Airport Authority provides the remainder of this overall car parking provision. There are no alternative sites designated in the council’s development plan for airport parking as the three existing long-stay car parks encompass the majority of the 26,800 limit. Parking proposals in the vicinity of Dublin Airport are explicitly prohibited from serving the airport, with planning conditions that parking is to be provided for the primary use, ie, hotel and not for airport parking.

Commenting on the sale, James Meagher of Knight Frank said: “This is an exclusive opportunity to acquire a key infrastructure asset as the only privately-owned car park serving the fast-growing Dublin Airport. Recent events at the airport have only further demonstrated the enormous demand for parking at Dublin Airport due to a lack of public transport, both from Dublin, nationally and from Northern Ireland. Given the unique value proposition of this important infrastructural asset, we are anticipating significant interest in the sale from both national and international operators and investors.”

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Acting Property Editor of The Irish Times