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Four property firms battle it out for prime Dublin office block as bids exceed £30m

Hibernia Reit, developer Eamonn Duignan, Joe O'Reilly's Chartered Land, and BCP Asset Management are understood to have progressed to the second round of bidding for the landmark premises of New Ireland Assurance in Dublin city centre.

And the Belfast Telegraph's sister paper, The Irish Independent, understands offers for the company's headquarters at 9-12 Dawson Street have already surpassed the €35m (£30.7m) price guided by Savills Ireland director of development, Mark Reynolds, when he brought the property to the market last month.

The property is being sold on behalf of Bank of Ireland, and is being marketed as an opportunity to deliver an office and retail scheme significantly larger than the existing 4,461 sq m (48,018 sq ft) building occupied by New Ireland.

A feasibility study undertaken by Henry J Lyons Architects suggests there is substantial scope to redevelop and extend the building to accommodate up to 6,219 sq m (66,941 sq ft) of space, subject to planning.

The Dawson Street area has undergone significant change over the past three years, with the development of several new office spaces by Green Reit and Iput. These developments, coupled with the arrival of the Luas Cross City line, have seen both Dawson Street and neighbouring Molesworth Street become the most sought-after location in Dublin's central business district. Barclays Bank, AIB and Jet.com are just three of the major names who have decided to locate in the area.

The long-standing headquarters of New Ireland Assurance at 9-12 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, is almost certain to be demolished and replaced by a higher volume office block with extensive shopping facilities on the ground floor when it is sold.

The two interlinking five and six-storey office blocks date from 1964 and 1971.

According to retail letting agents, there has been a sharp increase in the number of other inquiries for restaurant and fashion outlets in the same area.

Mark Reynolds of Savills says the "exceptional location" of the New Ireland building, coupled with Dublin's strong economic growth, make the proposals a "unique proposition and a prime development opportunity".

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