Contact Us

Bidding Process To Restart After The Square Goes Into Receivership

The Square is in receivership and expected to go back to market in the coming weeks.

AIB has appointed receivers for one of Ireland’s biggest shopping centres, The Square in Tallaght, after reports of a cut-price deal for the mall.

The move by the bank came after the sales process stalled, with offers in the region of €125M understood to have been made to the owner, U.S. private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management. AIB reportedly has more than €140M in loans set against the property.

Reports suggested that while AIB and Oaktree were prepared to sell at the discounted value, additional lender M&G Investments was less happy, and in the end, the process to sell the centre to lead bidder Hines could not be concluded.

As a result, the decision was made to appoint receivers Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson of Interpath Advisory with the consent and cooperation of all parties. Hines is understood to remain interested in a deal for the 570K SF scheme, as is under-bidder Eagle Street.

There had been four rounds of offers for the scheme, and some of the early-stage bidders are expected to reexamine a potential bid.

The Irish Times reported that these include property developer Ardstone, which owns the Citywest Shopping Centre in Dublin, plus active real estate investor Eamon Waters, who previously sold his majority stake in the company behind the Panda and Greenstar waste firms.

The day-to-day operations of the shopping centre, which was Ireland’s biggest mall when it was opened in 1990, will not be impacted, while owners of the independently-owned units at the centre will not be affected by the receivership.

Oaktree put The Square on the market last year with a €170M guide price, but The Irish Times reported in March that it had only received offers in the region of €125M. That is just half the €250M Oaktree paid the National Asset Management Agency for 90% of the shopping centre in 2019 and far less than its circa €640M valuation in 2007, when financier Derek Quinlan's Quinlan Private sold a stake of around 51% to developer Noel Smyth for €320M.

Prior to the Oaktree sale, NAMA had combined a number of borrowers’ interests, in what had previously been a fractured ownership, in order to complete a single, large-scale disposal.

Dunnes Stores and Tesco anchor the 130-unit scheme, which also includes a 13-screen cinema and more than 2,400 car spaces, while Penneys opened a large store in the centre two years ago.

Related Topics: Oaktree Capital, M&G Real Estate, AIB