€40m sale shows there’s life in Cork property market

A Cork office scheme which is due to host several hundred new EMC jobs, has just been bought as an investment by Irish Life for as much as €40m. The deal, at City Gate in Mahon, is one of the largest single investment sales outside of Dublin in recent years. It will be seen as a vote of confidence in Cork’s burgeoning tech sector, with the investment market seeing the city as a viable and bankable foreign direct investment employment hub — and an investment option for funds. Last night, an Irish Life Assurance spokesperson confirmed the acquisition of blocks A and B, totalling 217,000sq ft, for Irish Life’s Pension Irish Property Fund, in the second phase at City Gate. Sources said the price was between €37m and €40m. This part of City Gate was completed in 2012. At the time of its construction it was the only new office scheme being developed anywhere in the country during the slump. Now, its valuable sale is both dividend and vindication for John Cleary Developments. In all, they built 300,000sq ft at City Gate phase II, to capture 1,500 FDI jobs, and previously sold the entire 75,000sq ft Block C to Dell for up to €20m. EMC currently has two floors totalling 50,000sq ft at City Gate and is looking at taking up to two more, in addition to its existing thousands of jobs west of the city at its main campus in Ovens. Also in situ at City Gate II are expanding law firm RDJ and IT firm Fire Eye, while Starbucks is currently fitting out an outlet for a pre-Christmas opening, as is fitness centre Energie in a ground floor space opposite DFS Sofas, with 18-metre swimming pool for City Gate employees. Rent roll when fully occupied will be between €3m and €4m. Irish Life has a property investment war chest of €200m, and is looking to bolster its current portfolio valued at €462m. The €37m-plus Cork investment follows on a €15.5m office buy earlier this year at Dublin’s Pembroke Rd, opposite Jurys Hotel. By Tommy Barker, Property Editor Wednesday, November 13, 2013
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