16 April 2021
Union Investment moves into Irish residential property market
• Acquisition of the "8th Lock" residential project in Dublin for UniImmo: Deutschland
• First ever forward funding in the Irish residential market
Union Investment is further expanding its strategic position in the European residential real estate market. Having recently entered the Finnish residential market with the purchase of the Hyperion development in Helsinki, the Hamburg-based real estate investment manager is now making a similar move in Ireland. Union Investment has acquired the planned 8th Lock residential quarter in Dublin from British and Irish developer Ballymore. The purchase price is around EUR 200 million.
As well as seeing Union Investment enter the Irish residential market, this deal is the first ever in the Irish residential segment to involve forward funding by an end investor. Up to now, only forward purchase structures have been used for residential projects in Ireland. Unlike with a forward purchase agreement, with forward funding the buyer gets involved at an early stage of development and makes payments based on construction progress. Union Investment finances the purchase 100 per cent with equity.
"The purchase is part of our strategic focus on further expanding the share of residential investments in selected European core markets with the aim of ensuring long-term diversification and stabilisation of our portfolio."
Martin Schellein, Head of Investment Management Europe at Union Investment Real Estate GmbH.
"Ireland has the youngest population in Europe and is experiencing strong demographic growth. With multinational companies continuing to base themselves here, there is high demand for affordable housing, especially in Dublin. On the other hand, the rental sector is not yet professionalised and construction activity has been comparatively low in the past. The rental housing market will benefit from our professional management approach. We are delighted to be making this ambitious project a reality with our partner Ballymore", says Schellein.
Sean Mulryan, Chairman and Group CEO, Ballymore, stated: “We are delighted that Union Investment, one of the most experienced and respected real estate investment managers in Europe, has agreed to acquire 8th Lock. From project conception through to delivery, Ballymore projects are renowned for best-in-class design and innovation. We are committed to providing Union Investment the high-quality development that attracted them to partner with Ballymore.”
As was the case with the recently acquired Hyperion project in Helsinki, the purchase in Ireland is for the UniImmo: Deutschland portfolio. It marks the second big investment in residential property for the fund, and Union Investment’s third major investment in this property type overall. Previously, the real estate investment manager acquired the Y-Towers development in Amsterdam for UniImmo: Europa in 2019.
The 8th Lock residential project comprises five sections which are between four and thirteen storeys high and due for completion between October 2023 and March 2025. Altogether the site will offer approximately 31,000 sq m of rental space, with 435 furnished apartments accounting for some 28,000 sq m.The rest of the space is earmarked for commercial use. In addition to the rental space, future tenants can expect attractive communal areas that could be used as shared offices or as a fitness studio, for example. There will be shared underground parking beneath the development with room for 242 cars and 960 bicycles.
The future residential quarter is located in Ballymore’s already established Royal Canal Park northwest of Dublin's city centre. It is just 300 metres from the new Pelletstown railway station, which is due for completion this summer and will make it possible to get to the International Financial Services Centre in just twelve minutes. The city centre is only 25 minutes away and Dublin Airport can be reached in under 20 minutes by car.
Union Investment was advised by CBRE, A&L Goodbody and PWC.
For Union Investment Real Estate GmbH