IRISH REAL ESTATE investor Hibernia has paid €37.8 million for The Forum building in Dublin’s IFSC.
The deal for The Forum brings Hibernia’s total spend on property in Dublin city centre to €374 million.
The office building was originally developed by Liffey Partnership, which was a venture by investor Derek Quinlan and property developer David Arnold.
Nama took over the offices in the midst of the property bubble collapse, before selling on to US property outfit Atlas Capital in late 2012.
The deal between the US firm and the State’s bad bank was understood to be worth around €30 million, meaning Atlas has managed to book a profit in the region of €8 million after holding the property for just over 18 months, in addition to rent revenues.
Former Anglo Irish Bank director Lar Bradshaw, who was once head of the Dublin Docklands Development Agency, also at one stage had a stake in the project.
Upon his appointment to the DDDA, Bradshaw declared his participation in the site as a conflict of interest.
Hibernia is concentrating on snapping up assets in the city centre and anticipates continued strong demand for office accommodation in the Docklands area, a source close to the deal said.
Hibernia’s strategy is to seek off-market deals that are not openly publicised as it helps to avoid bidding wars that can take place in more widely marketed deals.
The trust is also in talks to buy Cumberland House on Fenian Street, and has at least another €63 million to play with.
City centre empire
In addition to The Forum, the trust has bought up another three office blocks in the IFSC and two more on the south side of the river, as well as a site on Windmill Lane in the South City.
The two story building on Commons Street was constructed in 2003 and covers just over 47,000 feet of office space, all of which is let to Depfa bank, who pay €2 million per year under the lease.
Hibernia is thought to be keen to take advantage of any opportunities presented by Nama’s planned development of the docklands.
A spokesman for the company said:
“Hibernia is already well-established in the Docklands through six previous acquisitions and we are very supportive of Nama’s plans to play a proactive role in the area. Nama can be an improtant catalyst in stimulating private sector investment, particularly through joint venture opportunities.”