Bank of Ireland building at Wilton Shopping Centre to stir interest

Back up for sale having last been offered in January 2013 as a private investor sale, and then subsumed into a loan book sale, is the stand-alone Bank of Ireland building at Cork’s suburban Wilton Shopping Centre.

Keen investor interest is expected, given the reasonable prospect of a 8.74% yield, at an asking price of €3.2 million via agents Savills, who’ve picked up the early 2016 and quite-sizeable investment sale instruction on the 8,000 sq ft stand-along building built on the Wilton grounds in 1980.

It’s held on a 999 year lease from 1979, and there’s a tenant break option in 2021. Rent is €292,000 per annum, on upward only terms.

Acquired in 2006 by private investor, the Wilton B of I branch had been extensively marketed three years ago by Lisney’s Cork office, who guided it at €2.5m for receivers, at a then-promised 11.4% net yield,at a time of CGT exemptions if held for seven years.

It was touted as the Cork investment sale of the year at the time, and, despite huge interest, ended up being taken into a loan sale, understood to have been acquired by Cerberus.

Now, it’s a different scene, not just at the reduced but still-attractive 8.74% return via Savills.

Likely to have an interest may well be the new owner of the Wilton Shoping Centre itself, Clarendon Properties/York Capital Management who bought the Wilton Centre, with further development uplift, for c €70m as part of the Hazel Portolio acquisiton last year.

The Hazel Portfolio included Wilton, earning €9m a year in rent, Drogheda Retail Park, with a €2.5 m rent roll, and Gateway Retail Park in Galway, with €1.4m in rents.

Plans have long been mooted for a major overhaul/rebuild on the large Wilton site, initially by Howard Holdings/Joe O’Donovan site, and Wilton was put for sale by Nama in 2015.

The rejuvenated and active Clarendon has been buying and developing in the UK, US, Germany, Dublin and to a lesser degree in Cork, and recently Clarendon bought the Quills building on Patrick Street for over €2m, next to its Savoy retail centre which it plans to redevelop.

More recently, Clarendon is understood to be buying the Argos investment on Cork’s Grand Parade, part of the Clarendon/old Robin Power-developed Queens Old Castle complex now co-anchored by Dealz.

The Argos investment in a 10,000 sq ft unit went for sale with Cohalan Downing in November, guiding €4.25 million and with a rent of €924,000.

The Clarendon/Argos purchase is not yet officially confirmed, however.

So, investors eyeing the Wilton Bank of Ireland branch investment may have the bullish Clarendon’s bid to counter.

Clarendon’s name has also been linked with the proposed sale of a surplus 2.5 acres at Wilton, by Tesco who own their own Wilton Tesco Extra store, and who had this site for further development/staff parking.

Tesco put the 2.5 acres at Wilton up for sale quietly last year, along with 24 other Irish sites (four others in Cork alone) via DTZ that it had acquired over a decade or more, mostly in provincial town, for future new supermarkets.

The Tesco/Wilton site has a €1m an acre price guide, and is under negotiation with several parties still, according to sources.

Bof I’s current lease at Wilton runs from December 2006, says selling agent Chris O’Callaghan of Savills, who comments “we expect a high level of interest in the property, given the strong covenant offered by the tenant and the profile of the building within the overall shopping centre site.

"The recent sale of the centre to York Capital Management/Clarendon Properties is sure to have a positive impact on the future of the development”.

The detached, bunkerish building is laid over a ground and lower ground floor levels with the ground floor (reached by a steps and ramp) serving as the main, c 4,000 sq ft customer space.

Wilton has a footfall of close to 110,000 persons per week, making is the second busiest centre in the region with anchors Tescos, and Penney’s, along with New Look, Lifestyle Sports and Eason amongst others.

Details: Savills 021-4271371



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