herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Shops get 50pc rent cut as half-empty centre struggles to stay afloat

THE Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) is receiving only a fraction of projected rental income from its chq shopping complex.

The beleaguered commercial semi-State has been forced to accept rents far below agreed levels because of the number of vacant units at the retail hub.

About half the available units at the IFSC building are empty.

Master tailor Louis Copeland, who has an outlet in the chq, told the Herald the rent he pays is based on the occupancy rate at the complex.

If 80pc or more of the units are open, the full amount is due.

However, since only about 50pc of the shops are operating, Mr Copeland pays "half rent".

"It's done on a scale basis. We are only paying half of what we should be paying," he told the Herald.

When contacted, the DDDA admitted the centre is having difficulties.

However, a spokeswoman would not reveal the details of rental income.

She said: "Like the retail sector across Dublin, the tenants at the chq building are facing challenging times. The terms of leases to tenants are confidential to the landlord and tenant.

"However, recent developments in the Docklands area (opening of the Convention Centre, Luas Red Line, the Gibson Hotel) are expected to have a positive impact on business at the chq building."

The DDDA has been under financial strain since becoming involved in the €416m Irish Glass Bottle site purchase.

Despite the recession, Mr Copeland is reasonably happy with the performance of his IFSC outlet.

"Our business is mainly suits. I know things might not be brilliant but we are doing okay there. It's a fantastic centre if all the shops are occupied. We're not doing badly," he said.

"If and when the place fills up, we will pay full rent," Mr Copeland said.

Reports last year revealed chq plunged in value from a peak of €50m to just €17m.

The authority's property advisers expected a shortfall of €465,000 in rents due from the centre's tenants in 2010 alone.

Projected income was set at €775,000 under lease arrangements, but the DDDA was anticipating it would receive as little as €310,000 once "potential tenant default and ongoing negotiations" were factored in.

comurphy@herald.ie

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