New landing at airport

Office activity in Cork’s suburbs, especially from FDI companies, has picked up sharply in recent months, according to agent Paul Hannon of Lisney.

New landing at airport

He has confirmed a sizeable letting to Canadian IT company Opentext, of Building 2800/2900, which had been offered for sale in 2013 guiding at €800,000 (€40 psf) and which sold for a sub-€1million sum to a private investor in 2014.

Opentext - specialists in Enterprise Information Management (EIM) - confirmed in November its plans to grow to more than 100 jobs in a Global Customer Support Centre over the next two years, in an investment supported by the IDA.

The deal shows good timing for the new investor owner of Building 2800/2900, which was one of the first entire buildings at the Cork Airport Business Park to come to market in several years (in 2013), with profile at the entrance. Acquired in relatively poor order, it has since been upgraded, with tenants in one portion of 2800, Alimentary Health, subsequently relocated to another building within the park which is owned by the same investor.

That value acquisition (at €40 psf) was followed by a portfolio sale, of five office buildings, for €15.1m via Lisney and DTZ (see separate story these pages, with a fresh €2.4m building offer via Savills, equating to €120 psf.) The Airport Business Park (with two hotels) was developed by Omnistone, with developer Bernard McNamara and has 500,000 sq ft in phase one, and 200,000 sq ft in phase two, with about 100,000 sq ft currently vacant.

After an extensive upgrade by its new owner, building 2800/2900 has now been let as a HQ building to Opentext (represented by CBRE), and who initially had been looking for no more than 15,000 sq ft on a new lease, likely to be over €12 psf, but this is unconfirmed. Paul Hannon of Lisneys said they did the deal before even actively putting the building to the letting market, and he describes it as an excellent standalone headquarters building at the main entrance to the park: “it’s a real vote of confidence in Cork Airport Business Park,” he observes.

Also let in recent weeks was the 9,600 sq ft ground floor of a building at Westpoint Business Park, in Ballincollig, on a new lease for a private investor.

New occupier is Radisens, a medical diagnostics company founded in 2009 by Dr Jerry O’Brien and now decanting from the CIT-backed Rubicon Centre. The building — convenient to Ballincollig Town Centre, EMC and the bypass, is currently being upgraded, and was vacated some time ago by Logitech. The landlord has subdivided, with the first floor being sub-divided as new serviced office suites, 1,700 to 3,200 sq ft with terms agreed on one of these units. Rent is likely to be around €11 psf for Radisens, and rents sought for the new first floor units are €13.50 psf. There’s an option to occupiers to have rates, electricity, insurance and service charges all included for a one-off cost, adds Mr Hannon.

Finally, east of Cork city, an expansion sees the 9,500 sq ft ground floor of building 8 in Eastgate Business Park let to BluePoint Laboratories/AmerisourceBergen (represented by Savills) who wanted to stay with the same business park location, but needed to expand.

After a refurb, the space was let by Lisney’s Mr Hannon on a new lease for its private investor/owner who bought it in 2014. The rent is likely to be around €13 psf and “there’s limited vacant space in the business park and existing tenants, when expanding, generally wish to stay in EastGate.”

“These three lettings show there is activity in the suburban office market but any potential tenant is seeking good quality third-generation office accommodation within established locations where accessibility, car parking and ancillary services for staff are all key. Rents remain at levels where development is still not viable and any new office buildings/schemes will require pre lets at much higher values,” adds Hannon.

Details: Lisney, 021-4275079

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