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Developer O'Flynn buys Point Campus for more than €20m

26-Oct-2016


Ciarán Hancock, The Irish Times

Cork property developer Michael O’Flynn and global fund manager BlackRock Real Estate have partnered to acquire a prime site in Dublin’s docklands with planning permission to accommodate 935 student beds.

It is understood the sale price for the 2.3 acre site, called Point Campus, was more than €20 million. The total development cost, including the acquisition price, will top €100 million.

The site was jointly owned by Nama and State transport company CIÉ. It was brought to market by DTZ Sherry FitzGerald on behalf of receiver Declan McDonald of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The purchase has been completed by O’Flynn Capital Partners, with the support of BlackRock and senior debt sourced locally.

Mr O’Flynn will develop the site with his student accommodation company Victoria Hall set to manage the complex on completion. It will comprise two blocks, rising to seven storeys, with units containing between three and eight beds, as well as twin and single study units.

In addition, there will be 866sq metres (9,320sq ft) of commercial retail floor space and 462sq m of communal facilities.

O’Flynn has been involved in student accommodation since 1990 and currently manages more than 7,000 beds in the sector in the UK. Some 2,500 are managed on behalf of BlackRock.

“This is a really exciting project for us given our experience in student accommodation,” Mr O’Flynn said. “There’s a lot of demand for student accommodation in Dublin at the moment, and it’s a great location with the Luas terminus on the doorstep. It will also be another significant development in the regeneration of that part of the docklands.”

Point Campus

BlackRock confirmed that some of its funds had invested in Point Campus. “Irish development partner O’Flynn Capital Partners and student housing operator, Host, the operating platform for Victoria Hall Management Ltd, will be responsible for developing and operating the 935-bed student accommodation facility,” it said in a statement released to The Irish Times.

 

“On behalf of its clients, BlackRock Real Estate has been an investor in this sector since 2013. This type of asset provides an attractive level of income for clients seeking yield in the low return environment that we are in today.”

Situated in the north docklands, the Point Campus is located beside the Gibson Hotel and opposite the 3Arena. It is close to the new Central Bank of Ireland headquarters and the Odeon cinema.

Planning permission was granted by Dublin City Council in May of this year. Development work is due to begin in the coming months with completion set for 2018.

Accommodation shortfall

There is expected to be strong demand for the units when they come on stream. According to the Higher Education Authority, there are currently 79,078 full-time students in Dublin, with an estimated shortfall in accommodation of between 16,000 and 18,000 beds and most students living in private rented accommodation.

This acquisition marks another step in Mr O’Flynn’s return to property development since having his loans sold by Nama in 2014. A year ago, the Cork developer put together a funding package of €400 million to secure control of his business in Ireland.

It is ironic that this deal involves the purchase of a site part-owned by Nama given that Mr O’Flynn has been a vocal critic of the State agency in the past couple of years.

He is one of five parties that have taken a joint case to the European Commission alleging illegal State aid in connection with Nama’s plan to build 20,000 residential units here by 2020.


The Irish Times
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