Singapore’s Mapletree Investments is close to signing a deal to buy an office building in Dublin’s Docklands for €240 million ($269 million), according to an account in the Irish Times.
The state-backed real estate fund manager is said to be in the final stages of negotiations to purchase the Sorting Office, an 18,766 square metre (202,000 square foot) office project nearing completion at the corner of Cardiff Lane and Hanover Street East in the Irish capital, as reported in the local media.
The sellers are a joint venture between local developer Marlet Property and UK fund manager M&G Investments,
The investment by Mapletree comes at more than a 57 percent markup over what the project’s current owners were asking for the property around two years ago, as the Dublin pushes its way into the ranks of the world’s 25 most active commercial real estate markets, according to a recent report.
M&G Joint Venture on Track to Cash in on Office Project
Should Mapletree, which owns and manages S$46.3 billion ($33.7 billion) of properties globally, complete its acquisition of the asset, it will gain possession of the seven-storey single block of offices near the city’s Grand Canal Dock for the equivalent of $14,334 per square metre.
The Sorting Office, which is scheduled for practical completion in November of this year, was said to be untenanted as of January this year, with the developers not yet having disclosed information regarding potential tenants or occupancy at the time of publication. Owners and managers of Grade A office space in Dublin are currently asking for rents of €60-65 per square foot per year ($724-784 per square metre per year), according to a recent report by JLL.
Marlet and M&G had acquired the site for the Sorting Office, which had formerly been home to a postal facility, in 2015 in a transaction valued at €40 million, according to local press accounts. The duo had then developed the Henry J Lyons-designed
office block and a separate 56-unit apartment building on the site. The residential element of the project is not included in the reported sale to Mapletree.
Earlier reports had the current owners retaining CBRE in 2017 to market the office property for €152.8 million.
If Marlet should realise the sale, it would mark the second time in less than a year that the Dublin-based developer has profited from a transaction with an Asian investor. In October 2018, the company sold a pair of office blocks, which it had previously leased to WeWork, to Korea’s Hana Financial Group for €145 million. That project, Charlemont Exchange, had been a joint venture with Vestas Investment Management.
Dublin Market on the Rebound
After nearly collapsing in the 2009 financial crisis, thanks to an influx of technology firms and growing unease about the future of the UK, Dublin’s real estate market has recovered to become one of the most actively traded globally, according to a report released in April by property data provider Real Capital Analytics.
The Irish capital ranked ninth in Europe and in the top 25 worldwide in terms of liquidity during 2018, according to RCA, which scored globally cities according to the amount of capital invested and the range of players active in the market.
For office investors, JLL research found that the meaningful vacancy rate in the city was just 5 percent at the end of the first quarter with at least eight office requirements of 100,000 square feet or more looking for a place to park their desks, as global tech giants such as Facebook and Salesforce compete for space in the city.
During the first three months of 2019, occupiers took up over 1.4 million square feet of offices in Dublin – an increase of 62 percent over the same period last year.