No rookies in Cork's Queens Old Castle Argos set piece

The €4.25m Argos investment, in Cork City centre, facing the Capitol cinema redevelopment site, has been bought by neighbouring developers, Clarendon Properties, with a view to future redevelopment of their Queens Old Castle holding, on the Grand Parade.

The 10,000 sq ft Argos store, unit 2 at the former Queens Old Castle department store (it has roots back to the 1800s), went to market in November, for receiver Eoin Ryan, via Brian Olden and Rob Coughlan, of Cohalan Downing, who priced it at €4.25m.

It has a rental income of €924,000, on a lease due for expiry/renewal in 2017, and interest came from local private investors, institutions and, according to the agents, “from parties who saw further development potential there.”

Mr Olden refused to confirm market reports that the buyer was Clarendon, who own much of the balance of the Queens Old Castle, stretching back towards South Main Street.

“It was a private treaty sale and we can’t comment, other than to say it was bought in trust, by solicitor, Patrick Dorgan.” It made a little over its €4.25m asking price.

If Clarendon are the buyers, they’ll have the option to negotiate new terms with Argos next year, seek a new tenant, or add it to a bigger play, as this end of Patrick Street picks up pace, thanks to the Capitol cinema redevelopment site and as the Event Centre construction gets underway 200 metres away, on South Main Street.

Last year, Clarendon also added to their Cork portfolio when they bought the Quills building on Patrick Street, next to their Savoy (also a former cinema) shops complex, opposite Debenhams.

Both the Savoy and Queens Old Castle were redeveloped in the 1970s by Robin Power and Tony Leonard, with the latter now one of the principals of Clarendon, who are active in Ireland and the UK.

The Queens Old Castle survived the Black and Tans’ burning of Cork in 1920, and was once a Penneys, it was converted to a shopping centre in the late 1970s, ran into difficulties in the 1990s and was developed by Clarendon Properties in 1997.

Olden said it was “a tremendous retail location, on one of Cork City’s most prominent retailing thoroughfares.”

The sale is one of the strongest Cork investments this year, only being trumped by the €5.5m paid for the McDonalds investment on Winthrop Street, also via Cohalan Downing.

Details: CDA 021-4277717


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