Prop­erty play­ers bat­tle for chance to de­velop part of the Guin­ness brew­ery

Har­court De­vel­op­ments in run­ning for Di­a­geo ur­ban cen­tre planned for St James’s Gate

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS PROPERTY - BARRY O’HALLORAN PHO­TO­GRAPH: DARA MAC DÓNAILL

Prop­erty play­ers Har­court, Hines, Quin­tain, Ox­ley and U&I are vy­ing for a place on a short­list to de­velop part of the Guin­ness brew­ery as a new ur­ban cen­tre.

Guin­ness’s par­ent, Di­a­geo, last year an­nounced plans to re­de­velop 12 acres of its com­plex at St James’s Gate in cen­tral Dublin for hous­ing, of­fices, shops and busi­nesses.

Di­a­geo’s call for part­ners from the prop­erty in­dus­try to de­velop the site jointly at­tracted bids from 16 prospec­tive suit­ors. The drinks gi­ant has since whit­tled these down to six. A fur­ther round of bids is due at the end of this month, from which it is ex­pected that Di­a­geo will draw up a short­list of three po­ten­tial part­ners.

The six de­vel­op­ers bat­tling for a place on the short­list in­clude Pat Do­herty’s Har­court De­vel­op­ments, multi­na­tional Hines, Sin­ga­porean de­vel­oper Ox­ley and two Lon­don-based firms, Quin­tain and U&I.

US-based Hines is al­ready in­volved in build­ing a new sub­urb at Cher­ry­wood in south Dublin and re­de­vel­op­ing the old Cen­tral Bank of­fice on Dame Street in the cap­i­tal’s cen­tre.

Lon­don-listed U&I is build­ing a five-storey of­fice block on Dublin’s Burling­ton Road in part­ner­ship with lo­cal de­vel­op­ers Johnny Ro­nan and Paddy McKillen.

It also owns Rob­swall apart­ments in Malahide to the north of the city.

Wem­b­ley Park

US in­vest­ment fund Lone Star owns Quin­tain, the Lon­don-based de­vel­oper of Wem­b­ley Park, which is build­ing 5,000 homes for rent in the English cap­i­tal’s western sub­urbs.

Ox­ley has in­vest­ments in Europe and in south­east Asian coun­tries such as China, In­dia, Malaysia and Myan­mar. The com­pany is build­ing of­fices in part­ner­ship with Sean Mul­ryan’s Bal­ly­more on the north bank of the Lif­fey in Dublin.

The Sin­ga­porean firm’s links with Bal­ly­more sparked some spec­u­la­tion that the Ir­ish de­vel­oper may also join forces with it on the Guin­ness project, should its bid suc­ceed.

Har­court De­vel­op­ments is an Ir­ish prop­erty com­pany with in­ter­ests here, in Bri­tain and the Caribbean. It is best known as the builder of Belfast’s Ti­tanic Quar­ter.

None of the com­pa­nies would com­ment when con­tacted. A Di­a­geo spokesman said that the drinks­maker was con­tin­u­ing with the process of find­ing a part­ner, which it orig­i­nally pre­dicted would take a year to 18 months.

Di­a­geo an­nounced the re­de­vel­op­ment plan last Oc­to­ber, which in­di­cates that it could take six months to a year be­fore the com­pany chooses a part­ner to re­de­velop the 12-acre site.

Di­a­geo Ire­land di­rec­tors Oliver Loomes and Colin O’Brien when plans were an­nounced last Oc­to­ber for a new ur­ban quar­ter at the St James’s Gate site in Dublin.

The group plans to keep own­er­ship of a num­ber of key build­ings in the quar­ter, in­clud­ing Arthur Guin­ness’s home and St James’s Gate it­self.

Coun­try man­ager Oliver Loomes ex­plained that Di­a­geo would not know how much the re­de­vel­op­ment would cost un­til it had signed up a part­ner. Di­a­geo said last Oc­to­ber it hopes to hire peo­ple from the lo­cal area to work on the devel­op­ment, as the com­pany did when it built its €169 mil­lion Brew­house 4 brew­ery which opened in 2014.

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