Likely best seller on Patrick’s Street

A third, institutional fund sale of a retail investment on the western section for Cork city’s main trading thoroughfare, St Patrick’s Street, is new to marekt.

Listed this week is 68/69 St Patrick’s Street, spanning some 11,000 sq ft, with an annual rental income of €770,000 paid by tenants, booksellers Waterstones. They occupy the building on a 35 years FRI lease, from 1988, with just over five years left to run.

It carries an asking price of €6.25m via Brian Edwards of CBRE Cork, representing a net initial yield after costs of over 11%.

“The recent purchase of the Capitol scheme situated opposite the property by Real I.S. for €45.6m is widely viewed as an endorsement of Cork city as a viable alternative investment location to Dublin,” he said.

Mr Edwards declined to identify the vendor, other than to say it was an institution: previous owners included former bookie and investor Joe Donnelly, who owns No 70 alongside, let to Bank of Ireland, and in the 1980s No 68/69 was owned for a period by Power Securities when it traded as the Omni Centre and, before that, as Winstons.

It comes to market close to another portfolio offering on the same end of the street, the so-called St Patrick’s Street Portfolio, launched by Savills back in March with a €9.5m guide for Nos 73, 74/75 and 79 Patrick Street, offered as one lot, for fund vendors, IPUT.

Sources say there’s a sale agreed in that larger portfolio offering, spanning 14,000 sq ft across four buildings and three tenants, with an overall rent roll of €610,000 pa, and a weighted average unexpired lease term back in March of c 7.6 years, showing a return of 6.15%.

The activity at this end of the street, along with some nearby advanced rental deals, coincides with the completion of the Capitol mixed office/retail development, acquired this year by Real I.S. for €45.6 from its developers John Cleary Developments.

And, Savills’ St Patricks’ St Portfolio came to market after the 2016 offer of two other St Patrick’s Street retail investments, at Nos 77 and 78, in the Irish Life CLIC Portfolio of eight Limerick and Cork investments, also guided all-in at €9.5m by Downing Commercial/Behan Irwin Gosling, with no sale reported.

A return in excess of 11% is heralded now in CBRE’s sale of 68/69 Patrick’s Street, with dual frontage to pedestrianised Paul Street, at its guide price of €6.25m.

It has 6,300 sq ft at ground level and 11,000 sq ft in all and has been occupied since 1988 by Waterstones, whose business model has bounced back in the past few years after a 2011 buy out, and as printed book sales have staged a recovery rally after the onslaught of e-books.

Profits are up in the UK (there’s about 270 Waterstones in all), up to £9.8m in 2016, and Irish profits rose to €1.9m for 2016 on Irish revenues of €14.2m, and the early 1980s-established chain also controls Hodges Figgis in Dublin.

Adjacent occupiers include Boots, McDonalds, Argos, Dealz, Søstrene Grene and Bank of Ireland, with Lifestyle Sports and Home Sense across the street in the new Capitol development.

Brian Edwards, of CBRE Cork, says “this is an excellent opportunity to acquire a high yielding investment on Patrick Street, Cork’s principal shopping street.

“The property is let to a quality tenant with over five years remaining on the lease and is likely to appeal to both international and Irish institutional investors, together with private investors, keen to secure a presence on the street.”

Details: CBRE 021-4917255

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