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Prime Temple Bar retail block sells for €11.2m

The busiest retail block in Dublin’s Temple Bar area, including the Elephant & Castle restaurant, has been bought by a fund managed by Davy Real Estate. The €11.2 million paid for the Crampton Buildings is almost €3 million more than they made just over three years ago when they were acquired by the Dublin-based investment manager Ardstone Capital and CBRE Global Investment Partners.

Separately, the Elephant & Castle business was recently bought from a New York company by Paddy McKillen jnr’s Press Up Entertainment Group with another 13 years to run on the lease and renewal rights after that. The company will consider opening another branch if suitable premises are found.

In the meantime, the Davy fund can bank on a net initial return of 5.76% on the block after acquisition costs are taken into account.

Ardstone purchased the Temple Bar property from Bank of Scotland (Ireland) in a considerably weaker market in the summer of 2014 when it was listed among a number of distressed assets held by Treasury Holdings before it was wound up.

10 separate retail and restaurant units

The Crampton Buildings comprise 10 separate retail and restaurant units extending to 1,580 sq.m (17,000 sq.ft) and fronting on to Temple Bar, Bedford Row and Crampton Quay beside the Ha’penny Bridge. More than 55% of the €700,000 rental income comes from three of the 10 traders: Elephant & Castle (€160,000); Gallagher’s Boxty House (€120,000) and Café Nero Ireland (€120,000). The three strongest performing businesses face directly on to Temple Bar’s busiest street.

Starbucks is the latest trader to move into the block, taking a prominent corner unit at Crampton Quay at a rent of €75,000. In another notable change, units 5 and 7 along the quays were amalgamated to accommodate Forbidden Planet which pays €55,000 on a lease that runs until 2021. Otherwise, the average weighted unexpired lease term for all the units has around 13 years to run.

Ardstone’s intensive asset management of the block led to six new leasing transactions during its ownership and a 30% increase in the rent roll.

David Carroll of Bannon, who handled the lettings and the sale, said they had recorded strong interest in the large block from a range of investor types. The location, asset quality and income sustainability was a big draw to interested parties and led to a prompt sale.

The Crampton Buildings are the last commercial investments in the Ardstone fund which previously offloaded office developments such as Fleming Court and 2 Harbourmaster in the IFSC, 100 Mount Street and Velasco office block on Clanwilliam Terrace. The commercial assets were sold to institutional investors over the past 18 months and the company has since changed direction and moved into the new homes market.

Article published in the Irish Times