Unicorn among Merrion Row buildings acquired by Friends First
Insurer paid less than the asking price of €9m for the Dublin portfolio Purchaser will seek to increase the rent roll of €433,000
Friends First has acquired four commercial buildings, including the Unicorn Restaurant and a high-profile redevelopment site on Merrion Row, close to St Stephen’s Green and the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin’s south inner city.
The insurance company paid somewhat less than the asking price of €9 million for the portfolio, which will form part of its Irish Property Fund.
The properties produce a rental income of €433,000 and will provide a challenge for Friends First to improve their value either through refurbishment or redevelopment.
Three of the properties in the “Merrion Collection” have leases that run out next year; the fourth lease expires in 2020.
The various options include the refurbishment and amalgamation of the buildings, regearing of the existing leases, or a full redevelopment of the buildings. Significantly, there is a lapsed planning permission for a substantial redevelopment, including a restaurant with cooking school and private dining, ground floor retail and an aparthotel.
An investment syndicate known as Ruby Point Ltd, led by Liam Shanahan and Liam Coulter, spent well in excess of €5 million on assembling the
Planning permission for a substantial redevelopment, including a restaurant, has lapsed
site. The existing buildings are relatively small, extending to a mere 8,800sq ft over two floors. A yard in front of the Unicorn, occasionally used as a car park, is likely to be included in any new development.
An obvious reference point from a planning point of view is the modern five-storey over-ground floor office block
Three of the properties in the “Merrion Collection” have leases that run out next year; the fourth lease expires in 2020