Plenty of opportunity at City Quarter development in Cork

The chance to ‘asset manage’ much of the iconic, but part-vacant, City Quarter development in Cork city comes to market this week. It guides at €14.5m, with scope to double the current rental income from €654,000 to €1.33 million, according to agents Savills.

The package now up for sale – and long-expected to come to market for Nama - includes considerable vacant quality office space, some retail/ground floor offices, the vacant former Boardwalk Bar and Grill, and 229 of the 280 car parking spaces, in the two basement parking levels.

In all, the portion of City Quarter now up for new ownership/management is 64% vacant, and the offer includes 38,000 sq ft of offices and 14,000 sq ft of ground floor retail/restaurant.

Designed by Scott Tallon Walker, the €100m City Quarter scheme was developed in the mid 2000s by Howard Holdings as a genuine game-changer for Cork’s docklands ambitions, and signalled the start of a move downriver to a new Central Business District, bulwarked by One Albert Quay, with Johnson Controls as its main anchor.

Floors four and five at City Quarter were vacated several years ago by Landmark Media, publishers of the Irish Examiner and Evening Echo who relocated to Blackpool.

Floor five was subsequenty re-let to energy company Brookfield, while floor four has stubbornly remained unoccupied, under asset managers Clowater, who had previous Howard Holdings’ links.

Also currently let is the popular Club Brasserie restaurant by the boardwalk, and the coffee kiosk Cafe Gusto.

Significant elements of the City Quarter scheme are in other ownerships: there are investor and owner-occupier owners of the balance of the overall 100,000 sq ft of office space, and also separately owned is a section of the first floor, adjacent to the conference suites used by the adjoining Clarion Hotel and accessed by a first floor bridge/glazed walkway.

The 191-bed Clarion Hotel was sold last year, also via Savills, and was bought for €35 million by Dalata, who will rebrand it shortly as a Clayton Hotel. Dalata also acquired the leasehold on the Cork Clarion as part of a €40m spend on three hotel leaseholds, including the Gibson, Dublin.

Pitching the remaining City Quarter elements as “a mixed use investment opportunity,” at €14.5m, Savills’ Cork director Isobel O’Regan says “City Quarter is a highly desirable and much sought after location,” with nearby occupiers including Johnson Controls, Bord Gáis, EY, Port of Cork (whose building is currently for sale) Deloitte, KBC Bank, Morgan McKinley/La Crème Recruitment, GJ Moloney Solicitors and City Hall.

And, directly across the River Lee’s south channel is the highly successful JCD €58m One Albert Quay, whose 170,000 sq ft of offices includes tenants PWC, Arup, Investec Bank and Starbucks, with Tyco/Johnson Controls as main anchor.

Developer Owen O’Callaghan also has planning for up to 460,000 sq ft of offices on Albert Quay and Andersons Quay.

A swift upgrade by new owner/asset managers of the 38,000 sq ft of vacant offices at City Quarter could see them tenanted within months, says Niall Guerin of Savills, who also says there’s scope to optimise rental income from the many car parking spaces at City Quarter.

Interest is expected from existing Cork developers, fund/asset managers and investors from further afield.

Details: Savills 021-4271371



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