Mar­let ‘Dublin Liv­ing’ deal on track de­spite ti­tle is­sue

Irish Independent - Business Week - - COMMERCIAL PROPERTY - Ron­ald Quin­lan

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

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