Carrickmines ‘district centre’ site goes to market

30 Oct

A large parcel of land designated for the third and final phase of the highly successful shopping and business facility known as The Park in Carrickmines, Dublin 18, will be of interest to Irish and overseas investment funds when it goes on the market today.

Mark Reynolds, of Savills, is guiding in excess of €45 million for the site of 7.24 hectares (17.92 acres), most of it zoned for use as a district centre. However, under the proposed new draft of the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Development Plan, which will run from 2016 to 2022, the planners have identified a need for a large new neighbourhood centre as well as a multiplex cinema. Further retail warehousing will also be open for consideration.

The park was developed in two phases by Michael Cotter’s Park Developments, the first in 2004 and the second three years later. Both phases were purchased at the height of the boom in 2006 and 2007 by Warren Private at about €100 million each. AIB Private Banking took a shareholding in the second phase.

Accessibility

The success of The Park from the start was largely due to its easy accessibility, with its own dedicated Luas stop and direct access to the M50 via junction 15. Just as important has been its close proximity to what is arguably the greatest concentration of high-disposable-income families in the country.

In 2014, The Park recorded visits by more than two million cars, and visitor numbers exceeded 4.87 million. Not surprisingly, all existing retail and office space is fully let and providing employment for around 2,400 people.

Statistics from Savills show that retail spending is rapidly rebounding in the Dublin area, due in part to the fact that the average family there has 20% more disposable income than in the rest of the country.

The bulk of the land now going for sale is owned by Park Developments and an associate company, Tristor Ltd, which is controlled by investor clients of AIB Private Banking. Park also has a 20% stake in Tristor. About 10 years ago, Tristor, led by businessman Tim Crowley, acquired eight acres alongside the park for around €76 million and subsequently secured planning permission for a massive mixed-use development, extending to 83,610 sq.m (900,000 sq.ft), almost as big as Dundrum Town Centre. The project was promptly blocked by the then minister for the environment, John Gormley.

Tesco had been a key partner in the planned development, and reputedly agreed to buy a fully completed 8,000 sq.m (86,110 sq.ft) store for around €70 million.

Compensation

The supermarket giant subsequently decided to abandon the plan and paid over compensation to Tristor, which owns part of the land. The UK multiple was also reported at the time to have bought loans which were taken over by Nama. Tesco is not expected to embark on a major new development in the Republic for the foreseeable future, after taking a hammering over a long-running bookkeeping scandal in the UK.

Mark Reynolds says The Park is one of the only locations in the county capable of accommodating significant additional retail warehousing, along with a supermarket and cinema and leisure facilities, in planning terms.

Savills is planning to offer the Carrickmines land for sale in one or more lots. Lot one, fronting on to the main entrance to The Park and extending to 12.63 acres, will have the e-economic development and employment envisaged in the zoning objective. Retail warehousing is also open for consideration.

In addition, there is a specific local objective to have a large new neighbourhood centre with a net retail floor space cap of 6,000 sq.m.

Multiplex

The draft plan also envisages leisure uses, including a multiplex cinema. The planning guideline recommends that an additional 3.59 acres should be used as open space to incorporate a linear park. It also recommends that a further 1.88 acres in a pivotal location should be set aside for a new feeder road on to Ballyogan Road, effectively creating a secondary main access point into the overall park.

Savills say this high-profile site, directly across the road from the Ballyogan Wood Luas stop, would ideally suit filling-station operators, car showrooms and retail warehousing, as well as neighbourhood shopping.

Reynolds says the Carrickmines lands hold significant value, whether in the hands of a retail owner-occupier or of a specialist retail/mixed-use developer. A buyer who brings credibility to a cutting-edge scheme could add significant value by expanding the scale and success of the existing retail and business park during a time of resurgence for the occupier market.

Article by Irish Times