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National Children’s Hospital to be delayed by 14 months and now due to open in second half of 2024

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The lack of transparency around the costs and timeframe of the new National Children’s Hospital is “nothing short of disgraceful,” an Oireachtas committee has been told.

TDs and Senators expressed their frustration at the decision by the Department of Health and the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) not to provide an update on costs and an opening date for the hospital.

Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway said the absence of updates was “nothing short of disgraceful” and that the meeting of the Joint Committee on Health was “pointless”.

It was revealed at the meeting the project will be delayed 14 months because of the Covid-19 shutdown. Instead of being finished in August 2022 as planned, it is now due to be completed in December 2023. The hospital is likely to open in the second half of 2024.

Sinn Féin spokesman on health David Cullinane said there was a “vacuum of accountability and transparency” around the main issues related to the hospital.

He said the failure to give an updated figure on the costs of the hospital is “deeply unsatisfactory” and that questions asked the last time the committee met on the subject in November had still not been answered.

There was a lack of clarity at the previous meeting in November and there was still no clarity seven months later, he said.

Social Democrats coleader Róisín Shortall said it appeared the board of the hospital was still working off an “unrealistic figure” of €1.433 billion, which was first revealed by then-taoiseach Leo Varadkar in December 2018. She warned the costs of the hospital threatened to be a “runaway train”.

The Department of Health’s assistant director of health infrastructure, Fiona Prendergast, acknowledged the cost of the project was of concern.

In her opening statement, she said there is a “live contract in place and ongoing commercially” with the main contractor BAM.

It would be “inappropriate and very likely detrimental” to the project to speculate on the ongoing costs, she added.

New Children’s Hospital Development Board chief executive David Gunning revealed there are 900 outstanding claims with BAM.

Nine claims have been settled at a cost of €2.5 million by arbitration. Six have not been resolved and will now go to the High Court.

“Claims are a fact of life in a large project. We are doing well in defending those claims. We are doing everything to mitigate any cost increase,” he said.

“All the costs we incur are subject to a great deal of scrutiny. We will not let the costs get out of control. Our principle mitigation is to get the project done as soon as possible.”

Mr Gunning said he was not in a position to give an update on the cost of the project. “We are content in the way we are defending claims,” he said.

When pressed by Mr Conway, he said it was a “racing certainty” the cost of the hospital will be more than the latest projected cost of €1.443 billion.

People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny said he would not be surprised if the costs of the hospital will be in excess of €2 billion.

Mr Kenny said the cost of the hospital has gone from €600 million to €2 billion and is making taxpayers “sick in their stomach”. He asked how the board could have got the costs so wrong.

Mr Gunning disputed the €2 billion figure, but he would not commit to a ballpark final figure.

However, he said the biggest cost is delay and the hospital is now delayed by 14 months. “Trying to deliver the hospital by December 2023 is our priority,” he said.

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Maurice Investments sell London office building for €30.3m (GB)

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Allsop, acting jointly alongside Anton Page, has completed the sale of the freehold of a Grade A workspace in Aldgate, central London, on behalf of Maurice Investments for €30.3m (£26m). Acquired by Meadow Partners, the price is equivalent to approximately €1120 (£960) per ft² and a net initial yield of 5%.

 

Wool + Tailor, 10-12 Alie Street E1, comprises 27,158ft² of Grade A office and ancillary accommodation over nine floors. It is within a three-minute walk of Aldgate station and a 15-minute walk of six further train and underground stations, including Whitechapel which is on the newly opened Elizabeth line, and is multi-let to five tenants. Maurice Investments had initially acquired the building in an off-market deal advised by Allsop, which also went on to conclude a successful leasing campaign alongside Anton Page.

 

Wool + Tailor was redeveloped in 2019 to include two additional floors and a new façade, with BREEAM “very good” and EPC A and B ratings. It features an eco-friendly biodiverse roof, cycle racks to accommodate up to 36 bikes, and a WiredScore Gold certification with fibre optic internet. Wool + Tailor further benefits from outstanding natural light throughout, which is enhanced by floor-to-ceiling heights of up to 3.3 metres, and a 7th floor communal business lounge with dual aspect terraces offering panoramic views of the City and beyond.

 

Matthew Millman, Partner at Allsop, said: “The sale of Wool + Tailor concludes a highly successful business plan for our client where we advised on the off-market acquisition, letting, then disposal of what has become one of the finest buildings in Aldgate. Wool + Tailor satisfies the requirements of the modern investor and occupier for ‘best in class’ office space with strong ESG credentials, excellent connectivity and plentiful nearby cafes, bars and restaurants.”

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AnaCap secures €59m loan for Paris office deal (FR)

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Tristan Capital Partners’ TIPS One “Income Plus” Real Estate Debt Fund has provided senior debt financing to funds advised by AnaCap Financial Partners, to support the €59.25m acquisition of South Station, a freehold office asset located in Massy, in the second ring of Paris. South Station is a high-quality property ideally located in Massy – the largest economic centre in the Southern Paris area – and is adjacent to the town’s main transport stations (RER and TGV). The asset is one of the most attractive buildings in the submarket offering modern A-grade office space with excellent amenities.

 

The sale and partial leaseback acquisition will see the vendor CGG, a geophysics specialist, remain as the majority tenant. Pramena Investment will act as the asset manager for the property.

 

Ashil Sodha, Director, Debt Investment at Tristan Capital Partners, said: “As TIPS One continues to diversify, we are pleased to have closed our first loan in France. We are focused on lending on high-quality assets with the right ESG characteristics and we believe this loan exemplifies this strategy well. We look forward to working alongside AnaCap and Pramena and supporting them in optimising their strategy for this asset.”

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Barratt and David Wilson invest €45.5m in UK resi market

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Harworth Group plc has sold two residential land parcel at its Waverley and Thoresby Vale developments to Barratt and David Wilson Homes, for a total consideration of €45.5m (£39m).

 

At Waverley in South Yorkshire, Harworth has competed a €33.8 (£29m) land sale which will see the delivery of approximately 450 homes, of which over 30% will be affordable. This represents Harworth’s largest-ever serviced residential land sale by number of plots. The new homes will represent Barratt and David Wilson Homes’ fifth phase at the site and will be situated adjacent to both Highwall Park and the Waverley Lake, benefitting from unique water frontage in an area of the development known as Waverley Waterfront. Construction will follow a bespoke design code, devised in partnership between Harworth and Barratt and David Wilson Homes, that complements the existing Waverley development while maximising the amenity value of the area’s waterfront location. The development will include a pedestrianised promenade, further enhancing the site’s placemaking and connectivity.

 

At Thoresby Vale in Nottinghamshire, Harworth has exchanged on the sale of serviced land capable of delivering 174 homes, for €11.6m (£10m). This represents the second phase of the Thoresby Vale development, following the sale of two land parcels at the site to Harron Homes and Barratt and David Wilson Homes in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Alongside the new homes, Barratt and David Wilson Homes will provide a new surface water attenuation pond and a multi-use path and associated landscaping, which will enhance connectivity and link to the site’s planned primary school and local centre, for which site preparation works are currently underway. The sales conclude an active first half for Harworth’s residential developments, during which over 100% of its budgeted residential land sales for the year were completed, exchanged or under offer, and it also launched its first single-family Build to Rent portfolio.

 

Andrew Blackshaw, Chief Operating Officer at Harworth, commented: “Barratt and David Wilson Homes is a trusted and valued partner to Harworth, and we are pleased to be developing our relationship with these two significant land sales. Harworth is particularly well-placed in volatile markets as our serviced land provides housebuilders with a product which is de-risked and ready to build on from day one. The acceleration of both our Waverley and Thoresby Vale sites will see Harworth stepping through its strategy to take advantage of the placemaking and levelling up that these schemes ultimately bring to these communities. In addition, these sales will enhance the maturation of these socially diverse neighbourhoods when delivered alongside our recently launched single family Build to Rent product, Project Spur.”

 

Ed Catchpole, Joint Regional Director for Yorkshire & Central at Harworth, added: “Barratt and David Wilson Homes has a proven track record of high-quality housing delivery at Harworth sites, and these transactions will help to further accelerate the build-out and placemaking at Waverley and Thoresby Vale. Both sites are also set to benefit from additional investment which will see the creation of new Build to Rent homes and local amenities.”

 

Mark Cotes, Managing Director at Barratt and David Wilson Homes North Midlands, said: “We’re thrilled to have secured the land for an extension to our Thoresby Vale development and will look forward to another opportunity to meet the growing demand for housing in Nottinghamshire. Our growing community in Edwinstowe will continue to provide new jobs for local people and we’ll be making further ecological and financial investments as the development progresses.”

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