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Eamon Waters among parties in €550m bid for Ireland’s largest shopping centre



Eamon Waters’ investment and property development company, Sretaw PE, is understood to be among the parties to have tabled bids for the Blanchardstown Centre.

Mr Waters, who made his initial fortune through the establishment and subsequent €1.4 billion sale with US private equity firm Blackstone of the State’s largest waste company, Beauparc Utilities, is one of six investors to have submitted first-round offers on Thursday for the west Dublin scheme, the largest shopping centre in the State.

News of Mr Waters’s interest comes just weeks after his acquisition of several other properties in Dublin, including the soon-to-be-vacated headquarters of Jacobs Engineering at Merrion House on Merrion Road and the Chancery building in Dublin 8.

In 2023, Sretaw acquired Victoria’s Secret’s flagship shop on Grafton Street along with Tesco’s premises on Lower Baggot Street from Iput for €28 million and €12 million respectively.

While Goldman Sachs paid €750 million to acquire the Blanchardstown Centre it, The Irish Times understands the bids on this occasion have come in at around the €550 million mark.

The parties now vying for ownership of the Blanchardstown Centre are Sretaw, developer Pat Crean’s Marlet Property Group, UBS, and three US-headquartered real estate investors, namely Hines, Northwood Investors, and a subsidiary of Starwood Capital. The sale of the scheme is being handled by Eastdil Secured and CBRE.

Goldman Sachs purchased the Blanchardstown Centre from the US private equity giant Blackstone in December 2020.

Blackstone had paid about €950 million in 2016 to secure ownership of the complex from Stephen Vernon’s Green Property but came under pressure in early 2020 with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.

By August of that year, the US-headquartered real estate investor was reportedly prepared to agree to a consensual surrender of control of the centre if a debt deal with its lenders on the scheme could not be agreed.

Blackstone’s near €1 billion purchase of the Blanchardstown Centre, which set a record as the most valuable sale of a single property in the history of the State, is believed to have been financed originally with €250 million of equity, with the balance being a combination of traditional senior debt and mezzanine financing provided by a syndicate of lenders that reportedly included Morgan Stanley, AIG, AIB and Goldman Sachs.

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AIB recently opted to take a haircut of about 17 per cent on the €175 million it had lent, when it agreed to sell the debt to London-based Hayfin Capital Management for about 83 cent in the euro. That implies the loan will be sold at a discount of about €29.75 million.

The Blanchardstown Centre comprises some 112,000 sq m (1.2 million sq ft) of retail space distributed across 180 shops. The scheme, which is anchored by big retailers such as Dunnes Stores, Penneys and Marks & Spencer, also comprises three external retail parks, external retail units, an office block and 7,000 free car-parking spaces.

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