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Blackstone bags Blanchardstown retail complex for €950m

The world’s largest alternative investment manager had led the race for the 1.6 million square foot shopping complex, which is one of Ireland’s leading retail and leisure destinations, from the outset.

The Blackstone Group, the New York-based private equity real estate giant, has acquired the Blanchardstown Centre in Dublin for a figure thought to be in the region of €950 million.

Although the firm’s bid was reportedly not the highest, its record and standing as the world’s biggest alternative investment manager left them as UK property company Green Property Group’s preferred option. Blackstone declined to comment and Green was unavailable for comment.

It is understood that Chartered Land, backed by Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, and Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, were both in the early running for the site.

Located in north-west Dublin, and linked to Ireland’s major motorways, the center is one of Ireland’s leading retail and leisure destinations.

The Blanchardstown Centre has more than 180 shops, including Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, 20 restaurants, two retail parks and a multiplex cinema, with a further 1.6 million square feet of office, residential and office development potential. Blackstone will also be able to add as many as 600 homes to the project.

Multi Corporation, Blackstone’s pan-European retail platform, will manage Blanchardstown Centre post acquisition.

In January, Green announced that the shopping center, which it said earned annual rent of €50 million and had 16 million visitors each year, was being sold due to the weight of international interest as well as the site’s scope for development.

Anthony Myers, head of European real estate at Blackstone, said: “This is a further investment by us in Dublin and underlines our commitment to Ireland and belief in the strength of its economy.”

Blackstone has already been active in Ireland, both on the buying and selling front. It has acquired several office complexes in central Dublin and is in the process of selling the former Burlington Hotel in the city. It also owns the Elysian Tower in Cork city, in south-west Ireland.

In March, the firm garnered $4.97 billion in commitments for the Blackstone Real Estate Partners (BREP) Europe V vehicle, its latest opportunistic fund for the Europe region. Blackstone said it was planning to deploy at least 60 percent of the capital in the UK, Germany and France.

The Blanchardstown Centre transaction is expected to close this summer pending relevant regulatory approvals.