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Elmpark campus in Dublin 4 for sale at heavily discounted guide of €55m

Higher interest rates and ESG requirements see Dublin 4 scheme’s capital value fall to below replacement cost level of €170 per square foot

Having paid €190 million in 2016 to acquire Elmpark Green, the vast office and residential scheme developed in 2007 by Bernard McNamara, Jerry O’Reilly and the late David Courtney at a cost of €550 million, US property giant Starwood has engaged agent CBRE to find a buyer for its remaining interests at the Dublin 4 campus. The portfolio comprises eight commercial assets, including the high-profile Seamark and Vista buildings and is guiding at a price of €55 million.

While Starwood’s February 2016 purchase of the Elm Park scheme from Nama-appointed receivers Duff & Phelps gave it ownership of 10 buildings extending to some 750,000 sq ft of commercial and residential space in total on a 17.3-acre site, it moved within months to dispose of two of the portfolio’s assets.

In the first instance, the US-headquartered investor turned a profit of about €7.1 million from the sale for €59 million of 201 apartments at the scheme to Ires Reit. The second deal saw it secure an estimated €5 million profit from the sale for €58 million of the Irish headquarters of global financial services provider Allianz to Standard Life. The price paid for Allianz House reflected a capital value of just over €672 per sq ft based on the eight-storey over-basement office building’s 86,272 sq ft footprint.

In November 2019, Allianz House changed hands once again, with German investment fund Quadoro Doric paying €53 million or the equivalent of €614 per square foot for the property.


With some 319,000 sq ft of space distributed across the portfolio now for sale, the capital value on this occasion is just €170 per square foot, which is considerably below replacement cost. The heavily discounted price reflects a combination of factors now being experienced across the wider office market, with higher interest rates and a shift in demand from older office stock to new, environmentally sustainable buildings on the part of occupiers and investors.

The most significant of the assets being offered for sale at Elmpark Green is the Seamark building. Extending to 184,000 sq ft, the subject property has best-in-class ESG credentials including LEED platinum certification and an A3 Ber rating following the completion by Starwood and Joe O’Reilly’s Chartered Land of a €45 million refurbishment in 2018.

Quite apart from its uninterrupted views of Dublin Bay, the Seamark has an impressive interior and features including 32 basement showers, two fully fitted double-height reception areas, nine high-speed 13-person passenger lifts, fully fitted toilets on each floor, raised access floors throughout, 165 secure basement car-parking spaces and 135 secure bicycle spaces.

The remaining assets include the 91,000 sq ft Vista Building, which is leased to global healthcare company Novartis, producing an annual income of €1.8 million, and six ancillary commercial units extending to a combined 44,000 sq ft, which comprise a leisure centre, two coffee shops, a creche, a management suite and a conference centre. The investment offers buyers the opportunity to significantly increase the rent roll through asset management initiatives.

The Elmpark Green campus is located on Merrion Road in Dublin 4 and sits within a short walk of St Vincent’s University Hospital and near UCD’s Belfield campus, Blackrock Clinic and Ballsbridge village. The scheme is home to a number of well-established international occupiers including Allianz, Novartis and Willis Towers Watson.

The development is well connected by public transport with numerous Dublin Bus routes serving the quality bus corridor (QBC) next to it. Booterstown Dart station is about 10 minutes’ walk from the scheme while the cycle lane on Merrion Road provides access to Dublin city centre in less than 20 minutes.

The majority of the campus is zoned Z6 (Employment and Enterprise) which allows for the potential conversion of the assets to medical, life science, hotel or living sector, subject to planning permission.

While the scheme’s location is likely to appeal to a range of parties, its position between St Vincent’s hospital and the Blackrock Clinic should prove especially attractive to those involved in the medical and life-sciences sectors. The scheme’s appeal to residential developers meanwhile was evidenced last year with the €7.025 million sale of a 0.57 hectare (1.4 acre) site to Red Rock Developments. Red Rock has since developed 78 high-end apartments on the site.

Zach Collis-Lee of CBRE’s Investment Properties division says: “This is a rare opportunity to acquire a significant holding in one of Dublin’s most desirable locations at a considerable discount to replacement cost. We expect interest from a range of prospective buyers both nationally and internationally due to the underlying strength of the location and build quality. The location, adjacent to St Vincent’s hospital and within a short distance of both Trinity College and UCD underpins the investment’s strong potential for repositioning for both medical and or life sciences”

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Property Editor of The Irish Times