€20m Worth Of Assets To Be Sold At Massive Allsop Space Auction

The next Allsop Space auction is set to be the largest of its kind ever held in this country. Included in the lots is yet another golf club that fell on hard times during the recession, which is set to be offered at a knockdown price, compared to what it would’ve fetched during the boom.

The Woodlands Golf Course, at Coolearagh, Coill Dubh, Naas, Co. Kildre, will primarily appeal to investors, but commentators wager that it may also strike some farmers’ fancy. Allsop Space has set a reserve of between €625,000 and €675,000 for the 18-hole course.

It is thought that some farming interests might pitch for the 127 acre course, described by the members’ website as “Kildare’s precious gem” given the price guide equates to no more than €4,921 to €5,314 per acre, while agricultural land prices remain strong at €8,000 to €10,000 per acre, in the counties adjoining Dublin.

Up until 1993, Woodlands was a privately-owned, nine-hole course, before being sold to local golfing enthusiasts, who subsequently bought an adjoining 60 acres in 1996. Then, after redesigning and converting it into an 18-hole course, Woodlands was opened by the then finance minister, Charlie McCreevy, in June, 2000.

A modern clubhouse was later added, courtesy of loans from Ulster Bank, which now stands as an attractive, well-equipped space that extends to 673 sq. m. (7,250 sq. ft.) and includes changing facilities, bar, office, pro shop and kitchen. However, the club was put into receivership last May, following rising debts of around €2.5 million, along with a recent decline in membership, thanks to the recession.

Woodlands is just one of 150 lots, comprised mainly of commercial and investment properties, with a combined reserve of €20 million, due to go to auction. The event, taking place in the RDS, will be the largest property auction ever held in this country. Last month Allsop Space sold 93 properties in the same venue for a total of €11.2 million, while earlier this year estate agent Knight Frank sold the 120-acre Knockanally House and Golf Club near Kilcock, Co Kildare, for €1.1 million.

Robert Hoban, director of auctions, said he was very proud of the fact that new premises would be bought by the next group of Irish start-up businesses, claiming that every shop, factory and office purchased at the December sale marks a new beginning for another, up-and-coming Irish entrepreneur. Mr Hoban noted that two distinct patterns have emerged from their auctions in the commercial property sector.

Lots located in urban areas have been generating great interest, and this has now extended beyond Dublin to Galway, Cork and Limerick. There is also significant evidence of a widening gap in prices between vacant and occupied properties, with overseas bidders chasing tenanted investments, in particular, more so than previously.

Of the wealth of properties up for auction, the 27-bedroom Rock Glen Hotel, in Clifden, Co. Galway, is one business premises that is likely to attract considerable interest. It comes to market along with a three-bedroom house, and over 21 acres of land, while the hotel itself includes a restaurant, bar, conservatory, residents’ drawing room, TV room and a snooker room. The reserve is set to be about €450,000.

Another lot set to be quite popular is a newly-built, mixed-use development in Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6, for which a reserve has been set at €550,000-€600,000. The development includes three apartments, along with a retail unit, which has planning permission for use as a takeaway.

Elsewhere in Dublin, a reserve ranging from €200,000-€250,000 will apply when The Croppy Acre pub at Ellis Quay goes up for auction. The business is currently rented at €35,000 per year and is expected to be a very popular lot when it goes under the hammer.

One of the highest reserves is being set for the auction of an office block and three warehouses, extending to 2,743 sq. m., at Grant’s Rise, in Greenogue Business Park, Rathcoole, Co. Wicklow. The reserve for the site, which extends to about eight acres, will be set at a whopping €1.15m-€1.35m. The current income, from the three warehouses, is around €63,600.

Elsewhere, a seasonal sale of a Christmas tree farm at Ballinvalley, Redcross, Co Wicklow, should generate considerable interest, given the time of year. The reserve is a comparatively meagre €45,000, for the 47.6 acres which are planted with coniferous trees for the festive period.

The Allsop Space auction is set to be the biggest ever in Ireland, and will take place in the RDS. It may not be the best place to go hunting for Christmas presents, but stranger things have happened.

Woodstown Village Centre Back On Market For €3.75m

After being sold during the property boom in 2006 for over €8 million, the popular Woodstown Village Centre in Knocklyon, Dublin 16, has just come back onto the market at just €3.75 million, with the sale being handled by Bannon estate agents. They are working on behalf of Declan Mc Donald, of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, who was appointed receiver by Ulster Bank.

The Centre is currently producing a rent of around €400,000, so a new owner could, therefore, expect to get an initial return of 10 per cent on the investment, once standard acquisition costs of about 4.46 per cent are taken into account. This yield is expected to rise once tenants are found for the two currently vacant units within the Centre. David Carroll, of Bannon estate agents, says he expects a high level of interest in the centre, because of the long-established nature of the occupiers, along with the attractiveness of the yield on offer.

Woodstown Village Centre was developed in the late nineties by Ellier Developments, who also sold it to the present owner. Comprising a split-level, multi-let scheme, accommodating 12 units in all and extending to nearly 1,600 sq. m. (almost 17,000 sq. ft.), the centre is anchored by a 340 sq. m. Spar convenience store, which pays a significant rent of €105,000 under its current lease, which runs until 2023.

Most of the tenants have been in place for extended periods, with rents ranging from about €15,000 (Dr. Sarah Enright) per annum, to about €61,500 (Mark Ellis pharmacy) for a space about half the size of the Spar store, which is the highest rented store in the Centre. Currently, one of the vacant units is a ground floor shop, with a floor area of 64 sq. m.


Government Initiative To Stop Illegal Deposit Retention By Landlords


The Government has unveiled a set of new rules, to be introduced in the coming months, under which deposits paid on rented accommodation will be held “in escrow” by an independent third party, in an effort to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords, who they believe may be retaining deposits illegally.

Jan O’Sullivan, junior minister for housing and planning, revealed the plan, which aims to put a stop to what is said to be a growing number of landlords who are retaining deposits at the end of tenancies, for less than genuine reasons.

Threshold, Ireland’s leading housing charity, advised that the issue of deposit return was its biggest source of complaints this year, bar none, citing some 20,000 disgruntled tenants who had contacted them to claim the illegal retention of money by their landlords.

According to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), a landlord must return a deposit promptly, as long as; “there is no rent owing in respect of the tenancy and there is no damage to the dwelling beyond normal wear and tear at the end of the tenancy”

Threshold’s annual report also revealed that more than 1,600 people reported poor standards in rental accommodation, with the most common problems including broken or ineffective heating systems and poor ventilation.

The charity claimed that, in some cases, landlords have refused to carry out repairs, often blaming the onset of the recession. A survey by Threshold also found that nearly 40 per cent of local authorities were unaware they were even responsible for inspecting rental properties.

The new Government initiative to improve tenants’ rights would see Ireland adopt an international standard, where deposits are held by an independent third party, instead of landlords, as is currently the norm here.

The plan seeks to put an end to the seemingly endless amount of very costly, often quite lengthy PRTB disputes over unfair deposit retention, while also giving both parties more security throughout a tenancy.