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Blackstone leading Blanchardstown race with €920m bid

World’s largest alternative investment manager is seller Green Property Group’s preferred bidder for 1.2 million square foot shopping complex in Ireland.

Blackstone is winning the race to buy Blanchardstown, Dublin’s largest shopping complex, after tabling a €920 million bid.

In recent weeks two other bidders, Chartered Land backed by Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing and Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, were both vying for the 1.2 million square foot site.

But now New York-based Blackstone is in the driving seat to acquire the complex, which is located in the northwest of the Irish capital, and is in exclusive talks with the owner Green Property Group. 

Although Blackstone’s bid was not the highest, the firm’s record and standing as the world’s biggest alternative investment manager has reportedly left them as the seller’s preferred option. Blackstone declined to comment.

Interest in Irish real estate is high at present, particularly after this week’s announcement by the country’s finance minister that the economy is set to expand by 5 percent this year.

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. The property development and investment firm also stated that it was instructing JLL and Eastdil to market the property.

The complex currently has 176 shops, including Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, 20 restaurants, two retail parks and a multiplex cinema, with a further 2.7 million square feet of space containing offices, a theatre, apartments and a Crowne Plaza hotel.

But there is also potential to vastly increase the shopping center’s size as has it an additional 1.7 million square feet of land. 

The new owner will be able to add as many as 600 homes to the project as well as further retail, office and leisure.

Blackstone has already been active 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. 

Last week, Blackstone said it had reached a record $101.1 billion in real estate assets under management, an increase of 9 percent year on year as it delivered quarterly earnings. 

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.