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US firm leads race for Blanchardstown shopping centre with opening bid



US firm leads race for Blanchardstown shopping centre with opening bid

Northwood Investors, a US real estate company, is believed to be making an aggressive bid to acquire Blanchardstown Centre, tabling a first-round offer in the region of €580 million.

The investment group M&G, the waste tycoon Eamon Waters and the US property investor Hines are still in the running for the mall despite pitching materially lower offers.

Northwood is working on a bid that would deliver a modest return for the owner, Goldman Sachs, and this would require a bid over and above the €560 million owed to the shopping centre’s syndicate of senior lenders led by Morgan Stanley.

A return for Goldman Sachs, which acquired the property at a valuation of €750 million in December 2020, would pave the way for a consensual sale.

Bidding for the shopping centre is at an early stage and there is no certainty that the frontrunner will table a fully financed, binding bid.

Goldman Sachs acquired the property from Blackstone, another US fund, after swapping debt owed to it for equity. Last year it secured planning permission for a €450 million, 971-unit apartment scheme at the centre. The residential element has attracted interest, but it will require infrastructural works. Another factor in the sale is the expiry of the lease on the centre’s office block, now occupied by eBay. The centre spans 112,000 sq m and has 180 stores.

Northwood was founded by John Kukral, a former president and chief executive of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors. It has $9 billion (€8.2 billion) of assets under management.

AIB sold €175 million senior debt secured on the centre at 83c on the euro to Hayfin, a UK lender, last year.

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