AREA to close €350m Ireland retail deal

The New York-based real estate firm is reportedly teaming up with F&C REIT to buy a Dublin shopping centre from Aviva Investors and Grosvenor. In February, AREA teamed up with PMB to buy a London office property for $52.9m.

AREA Property Partners is reportedly in the final stages of closing a €350 million deal for a 475,000-square-foot Dublin shopping centre, according to UK property magazine PropertyWeek.

The New York-based private equity real estate firm has teamed up with UK fund manager F&C REIT Asset Management to buy the Liffey Valley centre on the outskirts of Dublin.

The report quoted Roger Mansfield, director and head of property at F&C REIT in Ireland, as saying the deal would raise the firm’s real estate profile in Ireland, acquiring the property through the €154.8 million Friends First property fund, which F&C manages.

The open-ended fund, which F&C has managed for the past 30 years, is invested in around 25 office, retail and industrial properties in Ireland with an average rental yield of 8.5 percent, according to a fourth quarter fund performance report.

Mansfield added in the report that the Friends First fund had sold “one or two properties” owing to redemptions, but that “it would be great if Liffey Valley raised our profile in Ireland”.

In February, AREA teamed up with the private investment vehicle of entrepreneur Peter Beckwith, PMB Holdings, to acquire Gartmore House in London’s financial district for $52.9 million. The office property is fully leased to fund manager Gartmore and was purchased from Hines’ European Value-Added Fund. Hines is believed to have paid around $101 million for the property in 2006, leaving AREA and PMB with an 11 percent cap rate, according to data provider Real Capital Analytics

The deal was the first direct property joint venture for PMB and AREA in the UK, although the two firms been partners in investments in the Ambassador Theatre Group and the European leisure company, Aspria Clubs.