Marlet ‘Dublin Living’ deal on track despite title issue
THE proposed disposal by developer Pat Crean’s Marlet Property Group of a portfolio of 1,205 apartments at various stages of development in Dublin is expected to proceed shortly, notwithstanding an issue relating to the title of one of the sites forming part of the deal.
The expected sale of the ‘Dublin Living’ portfolio to London-based Round Hill Capital for a sum in the region of €450m will allow for the forward funding of apartments across four sites at St Clare’s and Mount Argus in Harold’s Cross, Carriglea on the Naas road and on the former CIE lands at Carlough Road in Cabra.
The title issue has arisen for the Marlet Property Group at the St Clare’s site, and relates to a small strip of land which, according to records held at the Land Registry, forms parts of the adjacent Parkview Mansions apartment development. This is despite the fact that it has been bounded by a wall within the grounds of the former St Clare’s convent for several decades.
The Irish Independent understands that Mr Crean was in contact with representatives of the Parkview Mansions management company as recently as yesterday afternoon, in an effort to resolve what he describes as a “mapping error”.
While Parkview’s residents last week refused an offer from the Marlet CEO of €20,000, which he had proposed “as consideration” for the Deed of Transfer for the piece of land, a source familiar with the matter said that refusal should not be seen as an indication that they were opposed to the agreement of a deal. The same source stressed that Parkview’s representatives had not looked for more money than the €20,000 which Mr Crean had offered to cover the costs associated with executing the Deed of Transfer.
While it would be open to Marlet to pursue a claim for adverse possession of the land, the company would need to establish that it, or its predecessors in title, had enjoyed exclusive use of the property for a minimum of 12 years in order to prove its case. It is understood that Mr Crean and his team are determined to resolve the title issue with Parkview’s residents on amicable terms and without the need for litigation.
Commenting on the matter, a source close to the negotiations said: “Issues of title are common enough. This is straightforward and it will be sorted out.”
Elsewhere, and in preparation for the ‘Dublin Living’ sale, Marlet subsidiary, Crekav Trading GP Ltd, wrote to An Bord Pleanala on September 22 last seeking a pre-planning consultation to fast track the delivery of 421 residential units (419 apartments and two houses) at Carnlough Road in Cabra. The submission was made under the temporary legislation the Government introduced to speed up Strategic Housing Developments (SHDs) of 100 residential units and 200 student bed spaces.
Apart from the delivery of 421 units in Cabra, Marlet is looking to build 180 apartments at Mount Argus, 220 apartments at St Clare’s and 362 apartments at Carriglea. The four schemes are due for completion between the second half of 2018 and the early part of 2020.
THE improving economy has caused a surge in demand for restaurants and coffee shop premises. This is causing headaches for Dublin City planners, who are rejecting applications for new outlets on the most popular streets.
This in turn leads to an increase in the value of properties which already have permission. This dynamic has reached the stage where a restaurant operator will probably outbid any retailer for a property by 20pc in some locations. It opens up a debate about who should be controlling the number of restaurants: the planners, or the market?
The ‘hottest’ Dublin streets for food and beverage operators are around Dawson Street, Fade Street, South William Street and Georges Street. The planners seem to have decided in some cases that there are enough restaurants on these streets as there has been a spate of refusals of planning permission.
The planning theory is that there should be a sustainable mixture of shops, offices, restaurants and other city centre uses on our streets.
This is understandable, to an extent, but many will question the point of having shops empty for long periods of time, whilst restaurateurs would be delighted to occupy them, employ people and pay rates.
I see no difficulty in allowing certain streets to become dominated by restaurants, bars and coffee shops — there are more than enough shops and offices on adjoining streets.
However, the council’s concerns would seem to be borne out in the ‘request for further information’ on the application by The Ivy to open in Green Reit’s, One Molesworth Street development.
One of the planners queries the amount of space needed, and asks if some of the ground floor can be used for retailing.
In my view, the Dawson Street/Molesworth
Street location is perfect for a large, up-market restaurant. It would serve the thousands of new office workers who will be based there from next year. Grafton Street is just minutes away, and the later opening hours of a world-famous restaurant brand would add to the vibrancy of this part of the city at night for longer than shuttered shops would.
The recent notification of a decision to grant permission at Central Plaza (the former Central Bank) permits six restaurants/cafes at plaza/ sub-plaza level, plus the rooftop restaurant, which is positive, but highlights what I would interpret as the council’s strategy of limiting the number
An artist’s impression of Carriglea, one of four proposed apartment schemes in the Dublin Living portfolio, and (inset) Marlet
CEO Pat Crean