Kennedy Wilson – retail property market may be at bottom

Kennedy Wilson, the US real estate giant that has invested heavily in Ireland since the crash, has called the bottom of the market here for retail property.

Peter Collins, who runs Kennedy Wilson Europe from its Dublin office, said retail would be “the big story” of 2014.

He said the firm, which has bought 21 properties in Dublin, mainly comprising office and apartment blocks and commercial assets such as the Shelbourne Hotel, would “focus much more” on retail here this year.

It entered the retail sector here last year when it acquired control of Stillorgan shopping centre via its €306 million purchase from Nama of the Opera portfolio of Treasury Holdings’ property loans.

“Retail is a tough place to be. But we think the leading indicators look good,” said Mr Collins.

He added that Kennedy Wilson, which has $13.7 billion of assets under management globally, would focus on trying to acquire shopping centres anchored by grocery tenants.