By my reckoning, Ray and Danny Grehan’s €171.5m purchase of 2.04 acres of the former UCD veterinary college in Ballsbridge in 2004 was only the fourth most expensive transaction in the area by reference to price per acre. Sean Dunne’s purchase of Hume House which sits on a 0.66 acre plot for €130m in 2005 works out as the most expensive at €197m an acre, it was part of Sean’s planned assembly of a block of land on which he was to eventually develop Knightsbridge in Ballsbridge, but alas the crash put paid to that vision. David Daly paid an altogether more reasonable sounding €25m in 2006 for Franklin house, but at just 0.2 acres that worked out at €125m an acre overall. And Project Aspen’s David Courtney together with frequent partner, Jerry O’Reilly paid €36m in 2006 for the OPW Faculty Building which sits on 0.378 acres which made that deal work out at €95.2m per acre.
But at €171.5m for 2.04 acres or €84m an acre, the Grehan’s purchase was remarkable. This morning, Jack Fagan in the Irish Times reported that it was now coming on the market via John Moran of Jones Lang LaSalle and the asking price is €15m or a shade over €7m an acre, a 91% decline from the price paid in 2004 by the Grehans. It is described as a “knockdown price” by Jack, but who knows, there is not a huge amount of comparable evidence. Last Friday, CBRE reported development sales completed recently – “the sale of a 0.8 acre site in Dublin 2, which had been quoting €2.35 million; the sale of a 0.79 acre site facing onto the LUAS red line on Benburb Street in Dublin 7 for a price in the order of €1 million; the sale of a 0.38 acre former Texaco petrol station site on the eastern side of Churchtown Road in Dublin 14 for approximately €600,000 and the sale of a 0.2 acre site at Newtownpark Avenue in Blackrock, Co. Dublin for approximately €550,000. One of the largest transactions to complete recently was the sale of 486 acres at Milverton Demesne in Skerries in North County Dublin for a price believed to be in the order of €7.5 million.” It’s still not a great comparable but last year, NAMA sold a 4.86 acre site nearby in Booterstown for a reported €400,000.
The Grehans have now both been discharged from bankruptcy in the UK. Having said that, NAMA is pursuing Danny though the Irish courts and it is understood Ray is still be pursued by NAMA, at least in the UK regarding the disposal of an apartment in the up-market One Hyde Park development in Knightsbridge.