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Private Irish investor pays €15.4m for Carlow Retail Park

Nine-unit scheme anchored by DIY giant Woodie’s had been acquired for €16.75m by Friends First in 2018

Just under five years on from its acquisition by Friends First for €16.75 million, Carlow Retail Park has been sold in an off-market transaction to a private Irish investor for €15.4 million.

News of Aviva’s disposal of the scheme comes just three weeks on from its sale with Iput of B&Q’s flagship store at Liffey Valley in Dublin to the French fund Inter Gestion REIM for €26.5 million. In the case of Carlow Retail Park, Aviva had assumed ownership of the development on foot of its acquisition of Friends First in 2018.

Located on Hanover Road and approximately 500 metres from Carlow town centre, Carlow Retail Park comprises nine warehouse units with a combined footprint of 9,290sq m (100,000sq ft) along with 600 car-parking spaces. Developed originally in 2003, the scheme is anchored by DIY giant Woodie’s along with seven other tenants, namely Harry Corry, Halfords, Homestore, Pet Mania, Electro City, Right Price tiles and KFC. The letting of the ninth and final unit – unit 6 (710sq m/7,642sq ft) is understood to be the subject of advanced negotiations with a prospective occupier at present.

The anchor tenant, Woodie’s, pays a rent of €577,500 for a store extending to 3,437sq m (37,000sq ft) and a garden centre with a further 2,043sq m (22,000sq ft). The scheme is understood to be generating total annual rental income of €1.25 million, providing the new owner with a net initial yield of 7.5 per cent. That yield is poised to increase once the final unit is let.


Michele Jackson of TWM advised Aviva on the sale of the Carlow scheme while Robert Murphy of Murphy Mulhall acted for the purchaser. Contacted for comment on its decision to sell the property, a spokeswoman for Aviva said: “Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland DAC (Aviva) has exchanged contracts on the sale of Carlow Retail Park following a strong off-market approach. Agreement to the disposal of the property is a further strategic opportunity to rebalance the sector weightings in our Irish commercial property fund and improves the average unexpired lease term. The sale price is ahead of the carrying value in the fund which is another positive outcome for policyholders.”

Carlow Retail Park is the second retail development to have changed hands in the town this year. Fairgreen Shopping Centre was sold in the first quarter for €20 million to a local private investor. While the centre had been put up for sale in 2016 at a guide price of €36 million it failed to attract a buyer on that occasion. It returned to the market last September at a new and much-reduced price of €22.85 million.

Developed by Northern Ireland businessman Dr Gerard O’Hare, whose company Parker Green International also built The Quays shopping centre in Newry, Co Down, the Fairgreen scheme extends to 23,117sq m (248,829sq ft) of retail space across 50 units including kiosks. The centre’s tenant line-up features a mix of grocery, fashion and service-led retailers such as New Look, Costa, Eurogiant, Carraig Donn, Elverys, River Island and JD Sports along with three owner-occupier anchor tenants – Tesco, Heatons and an IMC cinema.

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Property Editor of The Irish Times