Kennedy Wilson acquires EUR133m mixed-use development site in Ireland


Kennedy Wilson (NYSE: KW), alongside its joint venture partners, AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets (AXA IM – Real Assets), and Cain International, has acquired one of the last remaining mixed-use development sites in Dublin’s thriving North Docks.

City Block 3 (CB3) totals 5.9 acres and will include the development of PRS (private rented sector) and office accommodation.
 
The acquisition was completed through two purchases from David Carson of Deloitte, acting as Receiver on behalf of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), for a total price of EUR113 million in separate ventures between AXA IM – Real Assets, a global leader in real asset investments and the leading(1) real estate portfolio and asset manager in Europe, acting on behalf of its clients, and Cain International, a diversified real estate company investing in both debt and equity in the UK, the US and Europe. Kennedy Wilson’s ownership in CB3 is 50 per cent, with an initial equity investment of EUR68 million. Kennedy Wilson will act as the development and asset manager of the property.
 
Kennedy Wilson and AXA IM - Real Assets acquired the 3.6-acre residential component of the development site through their Irish PRS joint venture, with planning permission already in place. The site benefits from its proximity to existing projects at North Bank and Liffey Trust which, when combined with the potential new apartments at CB3, will provide in excess of 650 units at this important city centre location.
 
Separately, Kennedy Wilson and Cain International, through a 50/50 joint venture, acquired the adjoining 2.3-acre commercial component of the development site, with planning permission for over 300,000 square foot of Grade A office space.
 
CB3 comprises an entire city block (fronting Mayor Street Upper, Castleforbes Road, Sheriff Street Upper and New Wapping Street) and is walking distance to both local amenities and significant transport links. The land also benefits from being in the Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), which facilitates the regeneration of the area.
 
Dublin’s PRS and office markets are underpinned by Ireland’s position as one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. With 74,700 new jobs added in the last year along with strong net immigration, office take-up tracking is 75 per cent above its 10-year average. Dublin PRS vacancy is at a record low of 1.4 per cent, buoyed by a continued strong demand for city-centre apartments.
 
Peter Collins, President of Kennedy Wilson Europe, says: “Our development plans for CB3 will bring the next visionary, city-centre, mixed-used campus to Dublin, following the ongoing success at our iconic Capital Dock development on the South Docks. We are confident in our ability bring forward this major new scheme for Dublin, given the breadth of our local development experience. We are excited to be growing our Irish PRS joint venture with AXA IM – Real Assets as well as partnering with Cain International, an experienced global investor, to deliver another leading project for the city and its residents.”
 
John O’Driscoll, European Head of Transactions at AXA IM - Real Assets, adds: “This investment adds to our existing high quality Irish residential portfolio held in joint venture with Kennedy Wilson. The Irish economy remains one of the strongest performing in Europe and the residential real estate market is further underpinned by structural demographic changes. We are excited about the potential of the well-located City Block 3 site and view it as highly complementary to the other assets in the portfolio.”
 
Richard Pilkington, Managing Principal at Cain International, says: “We are very excited to partner with Kennedy Wilson on our first investment in Ireland. With its strong economic growth, high occupier demand and low Grade A vacancy, Dublin is an attractive market for commercial real estate investment. As one of the last remaining mixed-use development sites in the city’s vibrant North Docks area, this project is particularly special and we look forward to combining our expertise with the Kennedy Wilson team’s impressive track record to create a truly exceptional workplace.”

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