The dawn of a new era: TU Dublin Aungier Street campus enters the market for €110m

DIT Aungier Street campus
Photo: Kim O’Leary

The next academic year will see many changes on the way for staff and students at TU Dublin, reports Kim O’Leary. With the move to Grangegorman slated for September 2020 and the last of the old buildings hitting the market; a brand new chapter for the university has officially begun.

TU Dublin’s Aungier Street building has entered the property market with a guide price of €110 million – and its sale will signal a new era for TU Dublin, according to the university’s president.

The property has been brought to the market by selling agent CBRE on behalf of TU Dublin — the successor of DIT — and while the worldwide markets have taken a nose dive recently due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the sellers are confident that now is a good time to invest.

“We expect to see considerable interest from a range of interested parties for D2HQ given the scale and development potential to provide for a brand-new urban quarter in Dublin 2,” Peter Garrigan, head of CBRE’s development land division, told TheCity.ie.

“There is huge potential from anything from offices to hotels and student accommodation, it’s in such a prime location right in the city centre and now is the time for ambitious developers to make a bid.”

Indeed, the Aungier Street property is situated just 350m from St Stephen’s Green. The 1 hectare (2.5 acre) D2HQ site is zoned “Z5 City Centre” under the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022, offering the purchaser scope to provide for a broad mix of uses including offices, retail, residential, hotel and student accommodation.

The existing Aungier Street buildings range in height from four to five storeys above basement, and extend to 25,833sq m (278,064sq ft) in total and were developed in phases between 1989 and 2004. The building accommodates 5,000 students at present.

The 2.54 acre Aungier Street campus comes to the market just over one year after TU Dublin secured €140 million from the sale of its nearby Kevin Street campus to developer Shane Whelan’s Westridge Real Estate.

In acquiring the Kevin Street portfolio, Westridge fended off bids from several of the country’s top developers, including Johnny Ronan’s Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE), Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore, Joe O’Reilly’s Chartered Land and Pat Crean’s Marlet Property Group.

Potential buyers

In recent weeks, speculation has been growing concerning who will eventually buy the Aunger Street campus, with rumours of interest from Dublin Business School. However, according to sellers CBRE, official offers have not been made as of yet.

Meanwhile local businesses have cautiously welcomed the entry of the DIT Aungier Street property to the market.

“It’s obviously a great location for either a hotel or a big office block, the college has plenty of history and someone will surely snatch it up very quickly,” said one local business owner.

Meanwhile, another business owner said that local shops will miss the business brought to them by students making their way to the Aungier Street campus:

“The students usually pop into my shop to pick up rolls and sandwiches on the way to their classes and during their lunch break, so I suppose I’ll miss the business they bring. It’ll be a big change for everyone, local businesses in the area, the staff, and the students themselves when the move to Grangegorman goes through.”

The move by TU Dublin to sell both its Kevin Street and Aungier Street properties forms part of its master plan to relocate its entire student body and faculty to its new centralised campus at Grangegorman in Dublin 7.

According to president of TU Dublin — Professor David FitzPatrick — the sale of both campuses and the move to Grangegorman will see the ‘beginning of a new era’ for TU Dublin:

“Our College of Business in Aungier Street, with 5,000 students and staff, is the largest business school in Ireland. We are now preparing for them to join our students of many other disciplines and to enjoy the new facilities on our flagship campus at Grangegorman, just across the Liffey in September 2020,” he said.

The university is set to welcome 10,000 students and staff to Grangegorman from this September. The 29.5 hectare (73 acre) site will ultimately come to accommodate more than 20,000 students and 2,500 staff.

It’s certainly the beginning of a new era for TU Dublin.

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