The last 12 months have been an exciting time for commercial property with key pillars such as occupier demand, availability of capital and positive demographics underpinning the market. It was also a fantastic year for Cushman & Wakefield business in Ireland, having recently completed our debut year operating within the Global fold.
The trend of the ‘super-sized’ deals in the office sector which emerged in the latter stages of 2018 continued to hold strong throughout 2019, with year likely to reach the record level of 280,000 sq.m achieved in 2018.
Picking up where we left off in 2018, having represented Facebook in the Pre-Letting of approx. 90,000 sq. m. at the former AIB Bankcentre in Ballsbridge, 2019 has proved to be another bumper year in terms of transaction volumes in the Irish market with our team playing an extremely active role, particularly on the occupier side, having brokered 3 out of the 5 top deals in the office sector. One such deal being the Salesforce acquisition, 48,000 sq. m at North Wall Quay, the biggest single lease acquisition to date in the highly sought-after Dublin Docklands.
This year we also saw considerable activity in our regional cities, with the commencement of Bonham Quay in Galway, Irelands first One Planet Living development and the first office development for the city centre in over 12 years. Limerick 2030 saw the successful letting of Gardens International, the recent winner of Design Project of the year. Cork, however, has been the real performer regionally with over 24,250 sq. m of take up with another 11,000 sq. m. reserved, driven predominantly by expansion of the very strong occupier base already within in the city and the emergence of the city as a Cyber Security Hub.
2019 was a record year for our capital markets business with the highlights being the acquisition for Mapletree’s first European acquisition, the sorting office and advising on the €220 million acquisition of the HSQ Project which was the biggest mixed-use transaction in 2019. We have also expanded our alternatives sector having transacted in excess of €500 million worth of PRS, Student accommodation and co-living assets and actively transacting another €850 million in this space.
However, it has not all been about the deals, now having full access to the Cushman & Wakefield Global database of occupiers & investors, coupled with access to the minds that have delivered some of the most fantastic global development has been a game changer for our business, enabling the team here in Ireland to learn from best global developments in terms of place making, sustainability and future proofing, bring those learnings to our clients in Ireland.
Looking forward to the next 12 months we envisage a continued positive outlook for the Irish commercial property market. As the weight of capital flow increases globally, I believe we will see further yield compression in PRS and we are likely to see the emergence of Super Prime Yield’s for the best in class office buildings as well as a further expansion into the alternatives.
Two areas to watch for 2020 will be the evolution of the social housing market in Ireland and how this will be funded and delivered and the realisation of large-scale mixed-use development both brown and green field such as former Irish Glass bottle site, Heuston, St James’ Gate and North Wall, Cork Docklands, Galway Harbour. It will be imperative that we look at alternative deal structure for these sites to ensure they maximise their potential for the community and the promoters.
Cushman & Wakefield Ireland