Kennedy Wilson, Axa target rents

By Pádraig Hoare

A partnership between global property rental firm Kennedy Wilson and the asset management branch of French giant Axa is to target the private rental sector across the country.

Kennedy Wilson, which recently became owner of The Elysian in Cork — the tallest building in the Republic — said the joint venture with Axa Investment Managers would start with 1,173 units across three of Kennedy Wilson’s Dublin schemes at the Alliance in Dublin 4, Clancy Quay, and Sandford Lodge.

Kennedy Wilson said it will continue to hold its current 50% interest in the three assets.

The Elysian, Cork.

The partnership will seek development and investment opportunities across Ireland, “targeting Dublin and other large urban centres” and Kennedy Wilson will act as overall asset manager, the firms said.

Kennedy Wilson would not be drawn on what “large urban centres” it was referring to, but it is believed it has strong interest in opportunities in Cork, where it recently bought The Elysian from fellow US firm Blackstone.

The Elysian was sold to Kennedy Wilson for around €87.5m last month.

There was intense bidding for the building with three international buyers in contention. The building has 211 apartments and a rent-roll of close to €5m per annum.

The building was its first significant foray outside of Dublin.

The Californian property firm has become one of the biggest landlords in the capital in recent years.

President and chief executive of Kennedy Wilson Europe, Mary Ricks said it had already built or was building on 778 units across its Dublin private rental sector portfolio and has “an attractive pipeline of future opportunities”.

“The Dublin residential market has undergone significant structural change in the last five years leading to demand outstripping supply, and making this announcement a milestone for our business in delivering much-needed rental housing,” she said.

European head of transactions at Axa Investment Managers, John O’Driscoll, said his firm was a long-term investor in the private rented sector, and that the transaction adds to its existing global residential portfolio valued at over €9bn.

The portfolio is well placed to benefit from Dublin’s continued and growing position as an attractive destination for global companies’ European headquarters, whilst the market also offers strong supply-demand dynamics.

“We believe that these supportive underlying market dynamics will allow us to extend our already strong pipeline of Irish private rental sector opportunities,” he said.

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