Docks tell a tale of two cities as Cork prices a fraction of those in the capital

It's a tale of two cities, and two different stages of dockland development — almost six acres in Dublin for a whopping €110m, or €18m an acre, or 11.5 acres on Cork’s south docks, for over €8.5m, or €750,000 an acre.

Docks tell a tale of two cities as Cork prices a fraction of those in the capital

By Tommy Barker

It's a tale of two cities, and two different stages of dockland development — almost six acres in Dublin for a whopping €110m, or €18m an acre, or 11.5 acres on Cork’s south docks, for over €8.5m, or €750,000 an acre now set to go to best and final bids later this month, while a valuable Cork north quay site is currently being assembled for a major office scheme by the rail station.

Interesting times to come.

Nama this week offered a former Danziger/Zoe Developments’-assembled site for office and apartment building, in Dublin’s largely developed docklands, by the completed Dublin Landings development, also of offices and apartments.

Part of a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), it’s been billed by joint agents Savills and Cushman & Wakefield as one of the last remaining prime development sites in Dublin’s docklands, back from the quays between the IFSC and the 3Arena, and close to the new Central Bank presence at North Wall Quay.

The site, in three lots, fronts Upper Mayor Street, Upper Sherriff Street, New Wapping Road and Castleforbes Road.

The larger portion, lot one’s 3.55 acres of the 5.91 total, has full planning for 347 apartments, and so equates to a stand cost per unit of €13,000 at the lot’s €45m guide.

However, as the planning was granted before new apartment guidelines were issued by Government, which allow for smaller and single-aspect units and less parking, the site could ultimately take up to 400 units, under a new SDZ application, it is suggested, bringing the ‘stand’ cost back to c €110,000 per unit.

Lot 2, 2.35 acres has a planning application — unusually ‘pending,’ and not as-yet granted — for 330,000 sq ft of

office-dominated mixed use, and is guided at €65m.

The total scheme, Lot 3 and called City Block 3, is €110m, with the joint agents instructed by receiver David Carson of Deloitte, for Nama.

Meanwhile, also being disposed of by Nama in Cork is the former Howard Holdings/Atlantic Quarter/Ford

Distribution site, in the south docks hinterland by Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Its 11.5 acres was guided at €8.5m by agents CBRE, whose Cork office has now set May 24 as a date for best and final bids.

Likely to suit high-density apartments, over 50 expressions of interest were recorded, from local, national and overseas parties, and the agents CBRE say they expect it to sell for over the guide.

Meanwhile, sources suggest that a major new Cork north quays office development site, between the city core and Kent Station/BAM/Clarendon Properties’ Horgans Quay development/HQ and St Patricks Quay, most likely close by Penrose Quay, is set for an off-market acquisition and planning application for offices, in two or more blocks, being

acquired by a Cork-based developer.

Further along the same riverside stretch, at Patrick’s Quay, meanwhile, planning has come through for the revamp of the Metropole Hotel which faces onto MacCurtain St, and the construction of a new, linked second hotel, the M, on the former PJ O’Hea garage site.

The total investment has been put at €50m by Trigon Hotels, with the Metropole operated by the Tifco hotel group, Ireland’s second largest after the publicly quoted Dalata Group.

Backed by Goldman Sachs, Tifco itself is currently being offered for sale, at a c €600m price level.

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