The former Bank of Ireland Headquarters building on Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 is for sale on the instructions of Receiver, Kieran Wallace of KPMG.
The Headquarters consists of three separate blocks over a common basement. This one of the few genuinely iconic buildings in Dublin. It is Ireland’s finest example of elegant Meisian style, with strong reference to Mies Van Der Rohe’s Seagram Building in New York.
The property was built as a corporate HQ and the quality of the finishes is far higher than that of a speculative office. The entire façade is clad in bronze which has weathered to give the characteristic patina of age, and the cores are clad with Wicklow granite. While the original glazing will clearly need refurbishment or full replacement, the ceiling to floor glass style provides excellent light and views on every floor.
The entire development totals 220,599 sq ft including basement. The car parking ratio is excellent with 220 marked spaces at present. Even if a refurbishment creates fewer and more generous spaces in the basement, the building will still have at least 1 car space per 1,300 sq ft net office area, about three times better than a new building.
The tallest building Block A is 8 storeys high plus mezzanine, over a lower ground floor and sub basement. It totals 123,962 sq ft net internal area (of which 8,413 sqft is storage or lower ground floor/sub basement). It has a very fine double height reception area, with mezzanine meeting rooms/offices. A new developer may be able to use more of the reception space for offices or other uses.
Block B is 5 storeys high and totals 33,193 sqft net internal area.
The other front building, Block C, is four storeys high and totals 55,914 sq ft net internal area.
The existing Bank of Ireland branch remains on the ground floor, occupying 9,083 sq ft in total on a 35 year lease from 28 August 2012, with tenant break options at year 5 and year 15. The current income is €295,000 per annum. The lease anticipates redevelopment of the overall scheme and makes allowance for this, including a right to move the branch to equivalent space within the scheme.
The property is located in Dublin’s most established and desirable office location. With the LUAS at St Stephen’s Green and the DART at Grand Canal Dock, it is perfectly located for public transport.
“This is undoubtedly Dublin’s best office redevelopment opportunity” said John Moran, Managing Director of Jones Lang LaSalle. The location is prime, having both the advantages of a prestigious core Dublin 2 address, and transport links better than any south docklands location.”
“For any occupier either already in or looking for a core Dublin 2 location this is the ideal new office choice. It will always be attractive to staff being so close to the best shopping and restaurants in Dublin, as well as the canal and other leisure facilities.”
“This building has huge advantages over a bare site. It can be redeveloped all at once or in phases naturally provided by the block layout. There is scope for sensitive extension, especially to the rear of Block C. It is a readymade large block of office space in a market which has a shortage of this size. Because the structure is in place, even an extensive refurbishment will be faster and cheaper than a new build.”
The property is a Protected Structure. The Section 57 Declaration from Dublin City Council makes it clear that the emphasis is on protection of the exterior character of the property, with greater freedom (subject to planning permission) with regard to the interiors. Extension remains a possibility, especially if sensitive to the existing design. The rear of Block A could accommodate around 70,000 sq ft of new space.
There is no official guide price on the property but industry sources expect the price to be in the 30 to €35 m range and maybe even above depending on how bullish a view the market takes. Once source said “fully let at €35 psf at say 7.5%, this will have a completed value of around €440 psf. A very extensive high end refurbishment is unlikely to come in much over €150 psf all in, so even allowing for profit and voids etc. I think a developer could afford to pay at least the same again psf on the site, or more if he thinks he can extend.”
An owner occupier either alone or teamed with a developer would be in a strong position to buy as they will have greater certainty on occupation and lease terms.
Jones Lang LaSalle sold this property in 2006 and are again the agents, this time for Kieran Wallace of KPMG as receiver and expect a high level of interest.
Margaret Fleming, Investment Director, said that "This site offers both certainty and upside. The minimum quantum of office space is not only certain but already constructed. The parking is certain and built. The location is established and proven to be a long term winner in the Dublin market. The property is iconic and lends itself to a new branding. All these facts reduce risk, along with a shorter development programme for refurbishment. There is upside in terms of additional space, possible pre-letting and clever refurbishment which will be down to the expertise of the purchaser."
Buyers are likely to be both domestic and overseas based looking to capitalise on the opportunity to deliver high quality space to an occupier market that is starved of the options to locate in such a core Dublin 2 location.
“There have been many players knocking on the door looking for a high value, value-add, prime opportunity in Dublin. This ticks every box and could be a highly successful investment for a buyer with the right skill set.