Selling Montrose "always" the objective, say owners

Montrose accommodation across from UCD. Photo credit: Ryan O'DonnellTHE Montrose accommodation has been listed for sale for €41.5 million. Located on the N11 opposite UCD, the building consists of 205 student bedrooms, as well as a Spar, an Insomnia and a Bank of Ireland on the ground floor.Savills, the real estate agency who have listed Montrose, say that the student accommodation scheme has a predicted gross rent roll of roughly €2.91 million per year.Matthew McAdden, the head of Atelier Property Asset Management and founder of Ziggurat, the current owner of the property, stated: “the strategy for this asset was always to sell once the commercial ?space was fully let and the building [was] stabilised… The investors into this project wanted to see the process from start to finish in order to be able to re?invest in the €400 million, 4,000 bed fund to develop in Cork, Galway and Dublin”.This “fund” is one of Ziggurat’s current plans for developing purpose-built student accomodation in Ireland – Montrose being the first. The announcement came on August 31st when it was listed for sale by private treaty on Ziggurat’s behalf by Savills. McAdden assured the University Observer that “the Montrose will continue to be let to students and managed by a reputable manager.”There is no indication as to whether prices for rooms will change with the change of ownership, but new rent rates are currently being set for 2017. McAdden has said that “Ziggurat are setting rents for September 2017 and these will be live on the letting website very shortly."The property was obtained from NAMA in 2011, with planning permission being granted to redevelop as student accomodation in mid-2013 and works beginning in January 2014.McAdden went on to say that “Atelier recommend the appropriate rent based upon a fair reflection of value for money and this is adopted by the asset owner. This process will not be impacted by the sale”.Michael Fitzpatrick, a previous tenant in the Montrose, has stated that rent rates have steadily risen since 2014/15 with students being notified in advance of the rise and being offered the option to remain for another year. Rents currently stand at €245 per week for a standard room, €270 per week for a superior room and €300 per week for a twin room. In comparison, before its opening in 2014, there had been a proposed entry-level price of €175.McAdden said that “we set rents as a function of the rents being charged by UCD on campus, the cost of renting other accommodation in the area, the level of demand for the property and what we believe to be a fair rent for the high quality of products and services that we offer.”UCD Students’ Union have also commented regarding accommodation: “our policy is aimed at increasing supply which is why we've gone into joint projects with [Trinity College] and Daft… There needs to be a concerted effort to increase the amount of purpose built student accommodation.”The SU has emphasised that a combination of private developers putting beds onto the market and increased public funding for campus residences is necessary.Commenting on the current housing issues, the UCDSU accommodation officer said that it is due to a “fundamental lack of supply” and that they would like to see the Montrose accommodation further developed as it is the first “purpose built student accommodation of its kind in Dublin.”Ziggurat finished refurbishments on 126 of the bathrooms in the Montrose and on the heating system throughout the property this summer. There has been no publicly interested investors as of yet.