Top Construction & Property Stories From the Week: Your 10at10 - Construction Network Ireland - Construction Network Ireland

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Published in Commercial Property on 14/04/2017

Top Construction & Property Stories From the Week: Your 10at10

#10at10 #newsroundup

CNI Editor reports

Some of the most noteworthy construction stories from the last week, as compiled by the team at Construction Network Ireland.

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The sale of ‘Project Tolka’ by NAMA is likely to be debated for some time and may be referred to the Comptroller & Auditor General after it emerged that the sale of the portfolio never made it on to the open market.

It emerged that the portfolio was sold in a ‘targeted marketing’ process, where potential buyers were approached directly, following a question by Fianna Fail finance spokesperson Michael McGrath to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in the Dáil yesterday.

McGrath said in the Dáil that “…the sales process could not be described as fully open and competitive”, and that “…there needs to be an explanation as to why the debtors had an involvement in the selection of potential bidders”.

The portfolio, which was sold for €455 million, comprised of loans from developers John Flynn, Paddy Kelly and the Dublin-based McCormack family.It is estimated that the €455 million price tag was a discount of up to 70%.

Among the assets in Project Tolka was the Burlington Plaza office complex on Burlington Road and the Clarion Hotel in Liffey Valley.


The Dublin Office market is in good shape according to commercial property consultants CBRE Ireland, which released it’s report on the sector for Q1 this week.

According to CBRE, almost 50,000m2 of office leasing transactions were signed in the Dublin market in the first three months of 2017 while another 50,000mwas reserved at the end of the quarter. In total, 40 individual lettings occurred in Dublin in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 50 in the first three months of last year.

There was one letting of more than 9,290m2 (100,000 sq. ft.) signed in the Dublin market in the first quarter of the year as well as another large transaction that extended to between 4,645m2-9,290m2(50,000 – 100,000 sq. ft.).

Prime office yields in Dublin remain stable at approximately 4.65% at the end of Q1 2017 but are expected to strengthen over the coming quarters as new market evidence emerges.


It is reported that Crekav Landbank Investments, a company part-owned by controversial developerGreg Kavanagh, is to build a significant development on the former CIE lands in Carnlough Road, Cabra.

Crekav Landbank Investments has been granted permission by Dublin City Council to build 320 apartments at the former CIE lands in Carnlough Road, Cabra.

The majority of the development will consist of four story blocks, but will also see a supermarket and creche built as part of 3,000 sq ft of commercial space. The project will also feature 420 car parking spaces and 320 bicycle parking spaces.


More good news again from the Ulster Bank Purchasing Managers Index, which shows the rate of expansion in the construction sector in Ireland reached a five-month high in March.

“Strong demand for the services of construction firms was very much evident in further substantial increases in new orders, employment and input buying last month”, according to Simon Barry, chief economist with Ulster Bank in Ireland.


Good news too from Northern Ireland, where the construction sector is apparently at a 5 year high. The most recent economic data for Northern Ireland shows that activity in the construction sector rose by 7% in the final months of 2016.

The figures, published through the Department for the Economy, show however that house building slipped back in the final quarter of last year, with much of the growth coming from increased output in the hotel & student accommodation sectors.


Builders supplier Grafton is to add 100 new jobs this year and a further 70 in 2018 in order to meet growing demand for its services.

The jobs will be created across Grafton owned companies including Chadwicks, Heiton Buckley, Sam Hire, Telfords and Davies.


After 18 years Gardiner & Theobald Ireland (Ltd) has re-branded to Cogent Associates, following an agreement between Gardiner & Theobald LLP and the local management team, that the business would transition into an independent entity.

Established in Dublin in 1999, the company has worked on a significant number of high-profile projects, including Central Bank of Ireland’s HQ, Google’s Dublin and Paris HQs, State Street Bank, Cork School of Music, Shelbourne Hotel, Victoria Square – Belfast, Herberton Regeneration, and Adamstown SDZ infrastructure.

Speaking at the launch of the company’s re-brand on Wednesday to over 300 guests, Director Anthony said that although it was ‘business as usual’ in many ways at Cogent Associates, the transition will mean an expansion in the services offered and increased staff numbers.



Ongoing analysis of the ‘Help-to-Buy’ scheme is raising questions over the effectiveness of the scheme, following reports that the Department of Finance had significantly underestimated the cost of the scheme.

RTE’s David Murphy has a good analysis of the scheme, which can be read here. Here is an excerpt, which raises an interesting question:

If the Department of Finance underestimated the cost of the subsidy and its benefits have yet to materialise how can the Government be assured that the substantial cost would not have been money better spent elsewhere?”


It’s not often that more murderers, terrorists and high-profile gangland crime figures living nearby would be seen as a boost to the locale, but the building of a new high-security wing in Portlaoise prison to house some of the country’s most dangerous criminals will be a significant boost to the local economy.

The Irish Prison Services has confirmed to the Leinster Express this week that the new wing would be built and that work would also start on the refurbishment of existing facilities at the prison.

The prison which is one of the main employers in Laois and the construction & refurbishment works should lead to increased employment in the area once all details are confirmed.

And finally…


The visit this week by Eric Trump, son of US President Donald Trump, to Doonbeg in Co. Clare received extensive coverage in the Clare Champion and understandably so.

One of the points most relevant to the local economy was the estimate by Mr Trump that the organisation would invest “tens of millions. Easily €30m, when everything is said and done,” as long as they received planning permission for their protective wall.

While cynics may point out that it might be wise to get Trump’s offer in writing before taking it into account when it comes to the planning application, some of the most amusing points seems to have passed without commentary, particularly Trump’s statements that the family business is “not in the business of building walls” (don’t tell Dad!) and that “we won’t have a resort without coastal protection from the waves, which are getting bigger”.

If climate change is a hoax, we would be interested in Trump’s explanation for the increase in the size of the waves off the west coast – Terrorists? Mexicans? China?