Complex sale receives bids of up to €1 billion

by Gazette Reporter

Bidders are lining up to take control of the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, which was put up for sale in February, with developer Joe O’Reilly among those willing to spend as much as €1bn to take ownership of the property.
The centre is the biggest retail complex in the country, with more than 1.2 million square feet of shopping space, and attracts a footfall of over 16 million people each year.
The centre currently has 180 stores spread over 85 acres, with a capacity of 1.6 million square feet for further development, a prospect that has several investors lining up bids.
The centre is currently owned by Green Property Group, but was put up for sale in early February by joint agents JLL and Eastdil Secured, and one of the first-round bids last week was submitted by Chartered Land, the company owned by Joe O’Reilly.
They are best known as the developers behind the construction of Dundrum Town Centre, which is now valued at more than €1bn, and Chartered Land has also been involved with the Pavilion in Swords and the Ilac Centre.
However, the company is on the brink of losing control of Dundrum Town Centre to UK property group Hammerson, which bought loans tied to Dundrum last year, and O’Reilly’s company will likely view the Blanchardstown takeover bid as a way to maintain its position as one of the key players in the retail market.
US private equity giant Blackstone and a fund tied to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are among the other early bidders, according to newspaper reports.
Construction on the centre began in 1996, with Green Property developing the complex over a number of years.
With its location close to the M50 and boasting 7,000 car park spaces, it has proved a magnet for retail giants ever since, with Debenhams, M&S and Penneys each paying up to €2.4m rent each year.
Speaking at the announcement of the sale in January, Green Property’s chairman Stephen Vernon said he expected the centre to prove a worthwhile investment.
“A fundamentally strong economic backdrop, compelling development potential and the inherent strengths of this asset present significant opportunity for the new owners,” he said.
Further development is expected to occur at the centre under the ownership of the winning bidder, with planning consent already granted for a 272,000 sq ft extension to the main centre and for underground car parking.

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