Comer Balls­bridge scheme sets new rental high in cap­i­tal

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - The Market -

The res­i­den­tial el­e­ment of Num­ber One Balls­bridge is al­most com­plete and, com­pris­ing 88 top-end apart­ments, it is about to set a new record for the high­est ever rent lev­els in the cap­i­tal. Monthly rents on the first to sev­enth floors start at ¤3,850 for the small­est 96 sq m (1,033 sq ft) units, how­ever most two-beds are sig­nif­i­cantly larger and range in size up to 140 sq m (1,505 sq ft) and will there­fore com­mand higher rents.

These rates out­strip Kennedy Wil­son’s new Cap­i­tal Dock res­i­den­tial scheme in Dublin’s south dock­lands which set a new bench­mark last week for apart­ment rents in the city when its two-bed units were ad­ver­tised seek­ing ¤3,300 a month.

Num­ber One is lo­cated on the con­tro­ver­sial for­mer ve­teri­nary col­lege site pur­chased more than five years ago by the Comer Group and the Mayo-based McHale broth­ers for a re­ported ¤22.5 mil­lion, some 87 per cent less than the ¤171.5 mil­lion paid by Kin­tene, a com­pany linked to de­vel­oper Ray Gre­han, dur­ing the boom.

Three bed units will start from ¤5,500 per month, the small­est be­ing 155 sq m (1,670 sq ft) with the largest ex­tend- ing to 177 sq m (1,905 sq ft). Prices in­crease for pent­houses on the eight and ninth floors, with two-beds start­ing from ¤5,000 per month with min­i­mum sizes of 109 sq m (1,175 sq ft). Three bed pent­houses, each 155 sq m (1,670 sq ft), start at ¤6,000 per month.

The de­vel­op­ment is also likely to set a new record for largest min­i­mum unit sizes in a large-scale Dublin de­vel­op­ment, with its small­est two-bed apart­ment ex­tend­ing to 96 sq m (1,033 sq ft).

There are no one-beds in the de­vel­op­ment, and the av­er­age size of two- and three-bed apart­ments is 125 sq m (1,350 sq ft). The largest unit, a stand­out four-bed pen­t­house, ex­tends to 223 sq m (2,400 sq ft), with a fur­ther 163 sq m (1,750 sq ft) pri­vate out­door ter­race. Known as The Galileo, the ninth-floor unit is avail­able for rent at ¤4,750 per week, or about ¤20,600 per month.

The apart­ments come with 4,645 sq m (50,000 sq ft) of res­i­dents’ ameni­ties in­clud­ing a spa, gym, swim­ming pool, busi­ness cen­tre, or­angery and ex­pan­sive roof ter­race, along with an on-site concierge.

It is in­ter­est­ing that the Com­ers have opted for a build-to-rent model at One Balls­bridge, in sharp con­trast to Char­tered Land’s build-to-sell strat­egy at neigh­bour­ing Lans­downe Place. Back in 2014, Luke Comer mused in an in­ter­view that it was con­ceiv­able that prices of ¤1,000 per sq ft could be achieved in the fu­ture in Balls­bridge.

His ex­pec­ta­tions be­came re­al­ity at ul­tra-luxe Lans­downe Place, with prices well ex­ceed­ing the ¤1,000 per sq ft mark, but even with such prices now ob­tain­able, the Com­ers have sought to rent the units.

The real ques­tion is whether they will hold the de­vel­op­ment as a long-term in­vest­ment, or whether they will sell the en­tire de­vel­op­ment as a tro­phy in­vest­ment, in­clud­ing the of­fice, re­tail and res­i­den­tial el­e­ments, once they prove to in­vestors that the rental mar­ket can ab­sorb these 88 lux­ury units at record-high rent lev­els.

Such a sale would be a ma­jor vote of con­fi­dence in the bur­geon­ing Ir­ish PRS (pri­vate rented sec­tor) mar­ket, given that cap­i­tal val­ues would likely have to av­er­age around ¤1.5 mil­lion per unit in or­der for it to be an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion for the Com­ers, com­pared to sell­ing them in­di­vid­u­ally.

Num­ber One Balls­bridge is al­most com­plete: Monthly rents on the first to sev­enth floors start at ¤3,850

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