Developer offers €69m for complex to build flats near new Facebook HQ

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Developer offers €69m for complex to build flats near new Facebook HQ


Artist’s impression of Fibonacci Square, which Johnny Ronan’s RGRE will develop as part of Facebook’s new EMEA headquarters in Ballsbridge, Dublin
Artist’s impression of Fibonacci Square, which Johnny Ronan’s RGRE will develop as part of Facebook’s new EMEA headquarters in Ballsbridge, Dublin

Allied Real Estate Group, a company controlled by developers Adrian Langan and Cathal McGinley, is offering €69.3m for all 90 apartments at Ballsbridge Court in Dublin with a view to levelling them and building 300 or more build-to-rent units on the site.

Ballsbridge Court backs on to AIB headquarters, which will eventually be home to Facebook’s new European base. Facebook opened its first office in Ireland a decade ago and now employs about 4,000 people across a number of city centre sites.

The Facebook headquarters on the AIB campus, which is being developed by Johnny Ronan, is expected to be home to 5,000 of the US company’s employees when it’s completed in about 2022. AIB is moving its corporate headquarters to Molesworth Street in the city centre.

The arrival of Facebook in the Ballsbridge area could prove a boon for landlords if well-heeled staff seek out accommodation in the area.

The build-to-rent scheme planned by Allied Real Estate Group on the 1.85-acre site behind the AIB campus would most likely be progressed as a strategic housing development. That means permission for the scheme would be determined by An Bord Pleanála rather than by Dublin City Council.

It’s believed that the process of acquiring the 90 apartments at the Ballsbridge Court complex – which includes one and two-bedroom units – is almost complete, with most apartments having already been agreed for sale to Allied Real Estate.

It is thought that two-bedroom apartments are being acquired for more than €800,000. It’s not known yet from where the funding for the acquisitions has been secured.

Mr Langan is also a director of Barina Construction, a building company that was caught up in the downturn. It’s now under the control of a Nama-appointed receiver. Barina Construction’s ultimate parent company is Barina Property Group Ltd, which has never been listed as being in receivership.

Mr McGinley has in the past been involved in marketing apartments in Manhattan to Irish buyers, and has been involved with Mr Langan on a number of projects. Earlier this year, their Allied Real Estate Group vehicle acquired the Royal Liver Retail Park on the Naas Road in west Dublin for €25m.

A recent report from Investec cited industry sources as saying that there is €7bn of institutional capital seeking build-to-rent assets in Ireland, primarily in Dublin.

Investec chief economist Philip O’Sullivan said that the Dublin market has a “chronic lack of accommodation”, which is raising rents and ensuring occupancy rates remain high.

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Last week, a company connected to developer Bernard McNamara secured permission for 110 build-to-rent apartments at a site in Santry, on the capital’s northside.

Irish Independent

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