The sale of number 8 St Stephen’s Green, a building widely acknowledged as one of Dublin’s finest and best-located Georgian properties, is expected to see significant interest from a broad range of investors and corporate occupiers seeking a statement headquarters for their operations.
Having served as the Dublin base of Axa subsidiary, the XL Group, since 2013, the fully refurbished home of the former Hibernian United Services Club, is being offered to the market with the benefit of vacant possession by agent Cushman & Wakefield at a guide price of €20 million.
Located just 50m (164ft) from the top of Grafton Street and overlooking St Stephen’s Green itself, the subject property comprises a substantial four-storey over-basement Georgian townhouse dating back to circa 1770. Occupied and owned originally for just under 25 years by Lord Mountgarret, it was acquired by the aforementioned Hibernian United Services Club in 1845 for use as a gentlemen’s club.
While the property was subject to successive Victorian remodelling, the quality of its original build and later modifications, and of its interior are noted on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. The building is included on Dublin City Council’s Record of Protected Structures and is located within a “zone of archaeological interest”.
In more recent times, the property was acquired for €10 million at the height of the last boom by the late publican and hotelier Hugh O’Regan. A talented entrepreneur and business visionary, O’Regan spent nearly as much again on upgrading the building with a view to bringing it back into use as a club for “young and emerging businessmen and women”. That ambition came to an end with the property crash. Number 8 was sold for €7.8 million to its current owners, the XL Group, in 2012 by receivers acting on behalf of the former Anglo Irish Bank.
The building underwent a major renovation in 2013 with the entire space being restored to provide a stunning combination of its original period detail and contemporary luxury. Today, the property extends to a total of 2,640sq m (28,418sq ft) of lift-serviced space comprising open-plan and private office accommodation, along with a dedicated gym space, showers and a large outdoor terrace. These modern additions are complemented by the building’s original cornicing, sash windows and shutters, ornate fireplaces, exposed brickwork, stained glass and ceiling roses throughout.
Number 8 St Stephen’s Green is zoned Z5 under the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022, which provides for a wide range of uses subject to planning permission. Interestingly, this zoning would allow for the building to be converted for use as a hotel. The sale of the property, may for that reason, attract the interest of hotel investors and operators looking to open for business in what is arguably the city’s foremost location. Developer Paddy McKillen jnr and Matt Ryan’s Oakmount are already understood to be formulating plans to redevelop the former premises of UK fashion retailer Topshop at 6-7 St Stephen’s Green into a boutique hotel.
Aisling Tannam, who is handling the sale of behalf of Cushman & Wakefield, says: “Number 8 St Stephen’s Green is a truly magnificent building, presented in immaculate condition and located at the best address in the city overlooking St Stephen’s Green park.”