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Micheál’s back on the yokes? That can’t be right

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Our paths almost crossed on the landing outside the main doors to the Dáil chamber.

Micheál Martin bustled straight over. “I’m back on the yokes!”

Beg your pardon, Taoiseach?

“I’m back on the yokes,” he repeated. “You know, the eggs.”

Phew. He’s back on the yolks.

The Minister for Agriculture was at his shoulder. Maybe the boss shouldn’t be imparting this sort of information willy-nilly, we said to him. Some people, particularly younger folk, might get the wrong end of the glowstick. Then again, they might start seeing the Taoiseach in a new light.

Charlie McConalogue just laughed. Micheál wanted to set the record straight following our stunning scoop yesterday that he nudges the yolks out of halved boiled eggs in the Dáil canteen and only puts the white bits on his plate.

He was not disputing the veracity of this insightful information in any way. This used to be the way he rolled. But not any more.

“They contain a thing called choline,” he explained. “Very good for brain function.”

So the Taoiseach is enthusiastically back on the yolks now. Or have we just hallucinated the whole episode? A distinct possibility, given that one of the main highlights of a dull afternoon in Leinster House was the installation of a swanky new sparkling water dispenser in the canteen. It provides still water, too.

Micheál will be beside himself.

In the Dáil, the Taoiseach and the Sinn Féin leader were absorbed in another instalment of their endless argument about housing. He wants a “solutions”-focused approach. She wants a “reality”-focused approach. And ne’er the twain shall meet, it seems.

Catherine Murphy of the Social Democrats took up where Mary Lou McDonald left off and talked about the Government’s newly launched pension auto-enrolment scheme. “While welcoming plans to address the pension time-bomb, we have a housing time-bomb that exploded years ago,” she told Micheál.

Murphy was not against improving people’s pension prospects but feared a generation would be forced to spend that extra pension money to keep the roof over their heads

It would be a great idea if it didn’t look suspiciously like a wheeze to get workers priced out of the property market to put their money into a pension fund which they can then use to cover the rent they will still have to pay in their retirement years, she reckoned.

Is this the real reason the Government is introducing this plan for workers in the private sector? “So they can raid the pension fund to continue to pay rack rents when they reach their mid-60s,” she said.

Getting real

The Taoiseach sounded frustrated. He wished people would welcome this plan in the spirit in which it was intended. “There can be no argument against doing the right thing,” he responded. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Despite Opposition TDs mentioning media reports to the contrary, he stressed there was no sinister motive underpinning the measure. He was “somewhat taken aback” by the commentary on the auto-enrolment scheme, something he had believed most TDs would welcome.

The main reason behind it is to do something about the dearth of pension cover in the private sector, he said, adding that he was “delighted” his government has moved to tackle the issue.

Murphy was not against improving people’s pension prospects but she feared a generation of people, struggling now to pay rent and with no prospect of owning a home when they retire, would be forced to spend that extra pension money just to keep the roof over their heads. She argued that the answer was not just about building more houses, but to build more houses that workers could afford to buy.

Micheál didn’t disagree, but it was a case of trying to build them fast enough. “I know I annoy people when I say it: we do need to get real in terms of delivering housing schemes much faster than we are. Everybody needs to get real.”

What is the point in coming into the Dáil every week “having a go, saying this is a great crisis, this is terrible, government is not doing enough” while carrying on as usual in councils around the country?” he asked Opposition TDs. “No problem – we can object to that, we can amend that, we can change that. And yet you come in here attacking, attacking, attacking. That’s not going to wash any more.”

As for the auto-enrolment scheme, it is designed to give “pension coverage to workers in our society that supplements the State pension and will enable them to have a quality of life in their later years. That’s it.”

“Not if they can’t pay their rent,” shot back Richard Boyd Barrett.

Ukraine crisis

Later in the afternoon, the Dáil set aside 3½ hours for deputies to make statements on the crisis in Ukraine. Most of them making, more or less, the same speech.

Mary Lou McDonald repeated her call for the expulsion of the Russian ambassador. His Execrably Mr Yura Fibbertov is still ensconced in Rathgar telling porkies for the motherland, but the Government is reluctant to boot out any more diplomats after expelling four alleged spooks on Tuesday.

Russia immediately signalled it would indulge in tit-for-tatski retaliation that will probably see the expulsion of four of the six Irish diplomats in Moscow, where Ireland is anxious to maintain some presence.

Fine Gael backbencher Joe Carey, looking ahead to Thursday’s address by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to both Houses of the Oireachtas, suggested that arrangements be put in place broadcast the speech on big screens in towns and cities across the country.

The Clare TD reckoned Merrion Square Park across from Leinster House would be an ideal location in Dublin “and we would encourage Ukrainian people, people who are living here, and refugees, to attend and we can all stand with Ukraine and its people on the day.”

Meanwhile, the Oireachtas pulsated with fervent apathy from 11am when counting began in the Seanad byelection for Ivana Bacik’s vacant seat on the Trinity College panel.

What with sorting the ballots, each one contained in an envelope within an envelope, and getting them in the right piles and stuff, it was after 7pm when the actual first count got under way.

The Seanad election process is fiendishly complicated to overcompensate for the dodgy nature of the rotten borough system that yields up our senators

TDs and Senators, voracious political animals all, clean forgot to rush down the road to Trinity to follow the action as it rattled along like a tortoise with gout.

Bacik, whose election to the Dáil last year gave rise to the vacancy, called into the count centre to wish the Labour candidate well while managing not to look ecstatic at escaping the backwater of the Upper House.

The Seanad election process is fiendishly complicated to overcompensate for the dodgy nature of the rotten borough system that yields up our senators. Hopeless political anoraks who can’t resist any sort of election count were predicting that it could be late into Thursday night or even Friday morning before a winner is declared. Sure we’ll have burst entirely with the excitement by then. We might need some of Micheál’s yolks to keep going.

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LaSalle and Accumulata to develop Munich’s first hybrid timber office building (GB)

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LaSalle Investment Management, acting in collaboration with ACCUMULATA Real Estate Group, will develop Munich’s first hybrid timber office building. The building is being constructed on behalf of Encore+, LaSalle’s flagship pan-European fund. Situated on Elsenheimerstrasse in the city’s Westend district, the office building will have a floor area of approximately 16,000m². With dismantling of the existing building on site already underway and construction due to begin in the third quarter of this year, the project is scheduled for completion during the first quarter of 2024. Lettings are already being marketed in collaboration with CBRE, the lead estate agent.

 

Designed by the leading Munich-based architectural firm Oliv Architekten, the asset will provide flexible, multifunctional spaces including a ground-floor café/bistro and landscaped roof terrace, as well as various wellness amenities, including a yoga studio and a relaxation lounge. Tenants will also enjoy bicycle parking, electric charging points and a smart underground car parking facility. Furthermore, the building will provide customisable office units and creative collaboration spaces, ensuring the asset is well-positioned for the future.

 

In terms of its environmental credentials, the project meets the highest sustainability standards across all areas, including construction, materials and operations. Having already received a DGNB “Platinum” precertification, the asset will be constructed using concrete reclaimed from the existing building currently situated at this location. All materials used in construction will be documented in a material passport, showing where and how the various components were sourced and installed, ensuring they can be repurposed at the end of their service life. These measures are projected to reduce embodied carbon by up to 25%. Embodied carbon will be low at 366kg CO2e/m², significantly below the RICS Building Carbon Database (offices) average benchmark of 1291kg CO2e/m².

 

The use of timber in the building’s load-bearing structure will ensure that approximately 1,100 tonnes of carbon will remain stored in the building fabric, rather than emitted into the atmosphere. During the course of the asset’s lifespan, emissions associated with the building’s operation will be reduced by 65% in comparison to a typical office building through the integration of a photovoltaic system, efficient heating, cooling and ventilation systems and the use of a ground water heat pump. The building will also harvest and store rainwater, supplying irrigation systems for the benefit of surrounding green areas.

 

David Ironside, Fund Manager of Encore+ at LaSalle Investment Management, commented: “This is an industry-leading and best-in-class project. The first of its kind in Munich, its design in accordance with circular economy principles and resource-conserving operation will serve as a benchmark in sustainable real estate. Located in one of the most sought-after office submarkets in Munich, the property will be extremely well placed to meet the ever-evolving demands of future tenants around sustainability, quality, amenities and infrastructure while providing attractive long-term returns for our investors.”

 

Markus Diegelmann, Managing Partner at ACCUMULATA Real Estate Group, added: “The start of demolition marks an exciting first step in the development of what will be one of the most sustainable office projects in Munich. At ACCUMULATA, we aim to promote the concepts of urban mining and the circular economy within the construction sector and this project is firmly aligned with this objective. By utilising ultra-high-quality and recyclable materials, we are creating an office building that can meet occupiers’ shifting requirements, both in terms of flexible working environments and sustainability standards.”

 

Georg Illichmann, Managing Director at CBRE GmbH, said: “As the first hybrid timber office building to be constructed in Munich, the project achieves all the modern-day requirements tenants demand from office buildings: easy accessibility to public transport, sustainability credentials and working spaces that promote communication, creativity and innovation. The building’s use of timber, unique to the Munich office market, will not only support the building’s sustainability credentials but also the wellbeing of occupiers. At CBRE, we are proud to be leading on the marketing of this unique asset and be involved in ground-breaking project in the German real estate market as the lead estate agent.”

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Cain provides €99.7m for London office development (GB)

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Cain International has agreed an €99.7m (£86m) development loan with BauMont Real Estate Capital  and YardNine for the development of a 95,000ft² highly sustainable, best in class office-scheme at 100 Fetter Lane in central London known as ‘Edenica’. The asset was acquired by BauMont in January 2021 with development partner, YardNine. Located in City Mid-town, in close proximity to Farringdon, the development benefits from easy access to the newly opened Elizabeth Line via Farringdon, as well as City Thameslink and Chancery Lane stations, with a diverse range of cultural, leisure, retail and educational amenities nearby.

 

The asset received planning consent in September 2021 for the delivery of a new 12-storey development, with over 8,000ft² of roof gardens, a new pedestrian route and garden square at ground level, alongside more than 230 cycle spaces. In addition to the light filled workspace the scheme will include a new café and F&B uses.

 

The building, situated at 100 Fetter Lane, has been named ‘Edenica’, a reference to the extensive outdoor spaces which form part of the scheme and adjoin it. The project is targeting the highest environmental standards of BREEAM Outstanding, WiredScore, SmartScore and WELL certifications.  Sustainability, technology and wellbeing are extensively incorporated into the design. This includes voluminous office space with clear heights of over 3 metres, openable windows to enable mixed-mode ventilation, extensive planted terraces to encourage biodiversity and provide significant external breakout spaces, facilities to encourage active modes of travel, and high-performance 100% electric building designed with the Waterman Group to ensure the building uses as little energy as possible and achieves Net Zero carbon emissions in use. Construction work has commenced on site and the scheme is due for completion in Summer 2024. 

 

Tanja Yerolemou-Ennsgraber, Senior Vice President – Real Estate Finance at Cain International, said: “We are excited to partner with an experienced sponsor and developer duo, joining their journey to deliver a best-in class office scheme. The project embraces the needs and desires of the future occupier, being mindful about their experience and bringing it to the fore. BauMont and YardNine have successfully unlocked a fantastic development opportunity and we are pleased to bring our construction financing expertise to the table and see Edenica unfold.” 

 

Damien Pasini, Director at BauMont Real Estate Capital said: “Following the recepit of planning permission last year, securing development financing is another significant milestone for 100 Fetter Lane. We look forward to working with Cain and YardNine to deliver a highly sustainable and innovative workplace in one of Central London’s most vibrant submarkets.”

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Crossbay acquires German logistics portfolio

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EPISO 5, a fund managed by Tristan Capital Partners, has sold a portfolio of warehouse assets located in Germany to Crossbay, the urban logistics platform for pan-European real estate investment manager MARK. The portfolio consists of three assets delivering circa 42,000m² of high-quality logistics floorspace. The transaction is the first disposition from the €1bn Summit Group portfolio of 69 assets, purchased in June 2021. The disposition was led by Sonar Real Estate. All three assets are fully leased. The largest warehouse provides around 25,000m² of logistics space located within a logistics hotspot on the outskirts of Berlin. The remaining assets are in prime positions around Leipzig and Dresden.

 

Fabian Meinsen, Managing Director – Portfolio & Asset Management, at Tristan Capital Partners, said: “The disposal is in line with the strategy to sell stabilised assets from the Summit portfolio acquisition and represents the first in a number of sales. Together with our trusted and experienced team of Operating Partners we are progressing with our asset management initiatives and driving disposals once the assets are stabilised.”

 

Marco Riva, Head of Logistics and Crossbay at MARK, added: “This latest portfolio acquisition fits perfectly in line with our strategy to create a market-leading urban logistics portfolio in Europe. Germany remains a key target market for Crossbay as we look to grow our AUM in Germany to €300m by Q3 2022. We expect demand for high quality logistics space close to core cities to continue to rise, with coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns only turbocharging the shift to online shopping. Our ability to deploy capital quickly combined with a genuine Pan-European network of on-theground local teams will allow us to source other attractive opportunities like the portfolio acquisition announced today, with our focus remaining on single-user distribution centres close to major urban areas.”

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