Arnotts

Re: Arnotts

Postby aj » Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:08 pm

lauder wrote:Good news. Would be interesting to see some drawings.


are we going to see the replacement of the horrific 6O'S facade?
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Re: Arnotts

Postby aj » Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:12 pm

its would appear that they arent rebuilding the west tower which stikes me as a bit hald arssed

http://www.dublincity.ie/AnitePublicDocs/00273005.pdf
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Re: Arnotts

Postby GrahamH » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:20 pm

No the west tower will not be rebuilt, as this application (lodged two weeks ago) forms part of the wider Arnotts redevelopment which involves the remounting of the facade of the west wing of the building as the elevation to the newly opened Liffey Street. This will make the existing central tower three-dimensional and a prominent feature of the streetscape.

Image


This is a very welcome development, not only as the Arnotts store - as admitted by the group's chief executive - is getting a bit tatty round the edges, but also as this phase of the development project was scheduled to be one of the last completed in around 2011-12. Now it is the first. It makes complete sense to undertake it now, independent of the delay to the wider project, as it serves a dual function of greatly improving the store in the interim while also tackling one of the cheaper parts of the new quarter scheme. It also explains the rather high figure of €10 million that was being bandied about for these cosmetic works!

Just on the west tower mystery again, there is little question that it was built. I came across this rare image of the store some time ago, reputed to date to 1902, but is perhaps more likely to be 1904 if this is when the building was finally completed (the main structure being of 1894).

Image

This trade card appears to be more pragmatic in terms of detail than the earlier sketch we have of the building (but it also serves to confirm that it was correct too). Interestingly, the two gabled buildings to each side of the building are depicted here as forming part of the store - perhaps it was these elements that were the 'extension' of 1904? It is significant that these buildings are depicted at this time, as this tells us that the left-hand one, which still survives, pre-dates the 1916 destruction, and is likely to be the only other building on this side of Henry Street to do so.

Also interestingly, the image also shows the vast workrooms (in somewhat embellished perspective) to the rear of the main building, where clothes were made for the 'monster store' and probably custom-tailored for customers when required.

Image


KITCHEN and DINING ROOM can clearly be made out, along with WORKROOM and CABINET to the rear (above image), presumably referring to furniture-making.

Image


The newly proposed works will radically transform the appearance of the store, turning a dingy 1960s vision of retailing back into the gracious ensemble of tall plate glass picture frames addressing the street that Arnotts once was. The photomontages look extremely impressive - literally a new Victorian building will land into Henry Street, as the typical shopper cannot appreciate the store in all its glory at present. These works will do wonders for the prestige of Arnotts, injecting it with considerable street presence.

One final point is the ground floor pilasters proposed to be reinstated dividing the windows. The drawings propose to reinstate 'stone pilasters to match original' but there is no bronze band detailing depicted (as seen above), as once wrapped around each pilaster in typical Victorian style. Such a motif can still be seen on polished granite shopfront pilasters on Dawson Street, and more critically, on Arnotts itself, where the banding marks still remain on the pilasters of the grandiose side entrance door.

Image
© fjp

What's the likelihood of those going back on across the board? They'd cost a fortune to get made up. Sourcing a similar dark grey granite for polishing also won't be easy. These issues are not specified in the otherwise very well detailed conservation method statement.
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Re: Arnotts

Postby StephenC » Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:24 pm

Oh bugger go an find it yourselves.... Reg Ref 3666/09
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Re: Arnotts

Postby missarchi » Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:23 am

StephenC wrote:Oh bugger go an find it yourselves.... Reg Ref 3666/09


everything can be divided by 3
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Re: Arnotts

Postby marmajam » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:27 am

didn't they say a while ago that there was no finance for this and it would be in suspense until economic recovery......................................?

be pushed to get this underway before PP runs out.
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Re: Arnotts

Postby GrahamH » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:36 pm

So the interim revamp of Arnotts' interior is well underway. It is remarkable the difference a dash of new flooring, cheap slab ceilings and a lick of paint makes in updating a store.

All of the trademark cast-iron columns have been beautifully painted in charcoal grey, to distinguished effect. Not only do they now look fashionable and elegant (grey very much being 'the' colour of the late 000s), the dark shade also highlights the columns as a prominent feature of the store, where their previous white glossy coating made them dissolve into the background. Smart grey carpets also feature on the stairs, as is a growing trend in retailing at the moment. The beechy counters are, however, a bit dodge...

Image

The crisp, glossy new tiled flooring is modern and durable. It really shows up the tattiness of the previous manky beech coloured timber-effect covering which has yet to be covered over alongside it. Indeed, that whole interior scheme of beech surfaces and oval forms dated remarkably quickly, just as the fit-out of Debenhams in Jervis did, of identical date. By contrast, the sharper lines and better palatte of materials of the Jervis Centre itself have actually held up very well (even if they have been tweaked since). An interesting contrast.

Arnotts' new slab ceilings could have been a little more inventive than the rather humdrum plain coffers on offer, but the glittering array of simple new halogen spots prove extremely effective in generating a sense of warmth and elegance. The glossy floor tiles pick them up beautifully. A very encouraging upgrade thus far, with the major interventions to the front of the store in cutting back the mezzanine to expose the full-height windows yet to come.
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Re: Arnotts

Postby Devin » Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:40 pm

Image

Some of the pre-canopy Arnotts shopfront visible on the right here.
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Re: Arnotts

Postby PVC King » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:40 am

Anglo Irish Bank to take control of Arnotts
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 07:28
The well known Dublin department store, Arnotts, is set to come under the control of Anglo Irish Bank.

The move comes as the retailer struggles with a significant debts of in excess of €0.25 billion. The debt is owed to Anglo and also to Ulster Bank.

Anglo Irish Bank has sought permission from the European Union to precipitate the move under EU rules. There is a deadline of August 9 for objections to the move.

AdvertisementIt is understood that none of the 950 jobs at Arnotts are under threat and that the store, located on Henry Street in Dublin, is trading well.

Arnotts generated debts arising from a proposed €750m redevelopment of the 5.5 acre area surrounding the store. The 'Northern Quarter' development was to include a shopping, entertainment and residential district.

Arnotts has declined to comment.


If they had secured planning earlier it might have been very different; great brand Arnotts, a pity they didn't put resources into expanding overseas and diversifying their consumer base as opposed to redevelopment. Good retailer
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Re: Arnotts

Postby SeamusOG » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:28 pm

To my mind it was a great brand, though for me (a former small shareholder) much of the sheen was taken off the brand by the somewhat murky events surrounding the re-privatisation of the company and the subsequent purchase of the Independent Newspapers building.

However, in the light of subsequent events, such as the deal with Boundary Capital (whose principal, a Mr McFadden, now seems to have fled the country) and today's announcement, I'm quite glad that myself and other small shareholders were forced out.

If Richard Nesbitt happens to lose a lot of money because of this, well I'm sure it couldn't happen to a nicer fella.
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Re: Arnotts

Postby aj » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:36 pm

there goes any hope of abbey street seeing any tlc anytime soon
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Re: Arnotts

Postby wearnicehats » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:10 pm

I think that the main problem stems from the fact that many people had a sudden epiphany and realised that they really really didn't need to buy any more shite
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Re: Arnotts

Postby GrahamH » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:04 pm

Ha, no Arnotts is still trading reasonably well. It is still without question the king of Dublin department stores, with the advances Roches were making being pulled back a decade by Debenhams, Clerys remaining a basketcase and more isolated than ever, and Brown Thomas increasingly finding itself priced out of the market. Arnotts has the most flexible business model and the most diverse range of departments to help weather the storm and keep itself relevant to the consumer. It's just a bit of a headache that there's a €250 million-plus debt lingering in the background... If there's one area that needs serious reordering, its their Kitchenware department in the basement which has gone down the tubes in the past couple of years. There's a big opportunity to be grasped in catering for the loss of that trade from Roches and other smaller stores that have vanished.

Most of us have probably noticed that the €10 million revamp of the existing store, including the removal of the external canopy on Henry Street and reopening of its magnificent original display windows, appears to have come to an abrupt halt since last November. Is this dead in the water too?

It was remarkable how little coverage the Arnotts redevelopment received back in 2007 relative to the Carlton site which has received widespread and sustained attention since its launch. The initial Arnotts scheme, gleefully rubber-stamped by DCC, proposed the most eye-popping over-development imaginable looming over Abbey Street, Liffey Street and Henry Street. This mindless stacking up of arrogant, formless and incoherent boxes merely designed to 'contain' XXX 'units' of half a million euro apartments, was in addition to a Liberty Hall squeezed onto the corner of Abbey Street and Liffey Street, a canyon of a new street entered from Henry Street (the concept itself an admirable one), and the most outrageous, bombastic recladding and stacking up of setback storeys on Penneys next to the GPO on O'Connell Street - without so much as a whimper from DCC or reference to their own ACA policy. Talk about a far cry from the expert architectural group of late 1916. As usual, it was left to a pitiful number of people to decry the latter dross being sent over from the UK from a so-called 'eminent' architect of retail design, over whose illustrious work casting so much as a concerned glance, never mind an open critique, yielded a scornful look of pity last practised in Dublin following the opening of the doors to the mob after the Duke of Dorset’s viceregal banquets of the 1730s. The lack of commitment to architectural excellence on this, one of the most important sites in the State, was nothing short of frightening.

It took the Board to turn this scheme from a gratuitously overscaled, if broadly urban-minded development, into a contextual, fully integrated and principled urban scheme. DCC were quite willing to sell out the north inner city lock, stock and barrel for vast development levies and rates. It will be interesting to see how the banks handle their newly acquired assets: namely if they dispose of individual properties, in which case the masterplan collapses, retain strategic sites to eventually develop part of it, or develop the entire plan incrementally – if perhaps scaled down.
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Re: Arnotts

Postby KerryBog2 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:23 am

GrahamH wrote:Ha, no Arnotts is still trading reasonably well. It is still without question the king of Dublin department stores, with the advances Roches were making being pulled back a decade by Debenhams, Clerys remaining a basketcase and more isolated than ever, and Brown Thomas increasingly finding itself priced out of the market. Arnotts has the most flexible business model and the most diverse range of departments to help weather the storm and keep itself relevant to the consumer............


Not very relevant, other than for selling it off as a going concern. Lots of businesses are “trading well” (it was the builders’ mantra for an age) but are broke. Huge difference between trading profitably and bottom line profit.

Agree with you on Clerys & BT, not on Roches who had serious issues before the sale to Debenhams, the latter continuing to make the classic Brit mistake of thinking “We will show Paddy how to do it.” Arnotts had developed a reasonable business model (mainly copied from what Switzers was doing) until it began to think it was a developer, not a retailer. Caught up in the gargantuan plans it also took its eye off the ball and ignored the need to adapt to the changes in retailing practice – particularly in the furniture business. There is more to retailing than fancy floors and counters.

I too would hope that ‘they’ would keep the closest adjoining properties with an eye to future development but I do not think so. Banks will want the debt paid down as soon and as much as possible. Nothing will be built for a decade.
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Re: Arnotts

Postby PVC King » Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:59 pm

The banks will find the holdings difficult to sell as length of lease and strength of company on the lease are the only drivers of value in this market. The pre-dominance of vacant offices and retail units let on temporary/short term leases to retailers no one has heard of outside Dublin leaves the banks in a position that they are much better holding out and taking a long view on the entire holding. I agree with Graham on Arnotts being the daddy of Dublin department stores and I agree with KB on Debenhams; Arnotts reminds me a lot of House of Fraser in terms of delivering a wide range of products mostly operated through concessions in a very pleasant fit out; why I prefer Arnotts to HoF is that Arnotts will also allow you to buy a bargain.

When you are that good at retailing why throw it all away to follow the herd in terms of redevelopment taking undue focus. Arnotts were never going to build a better centre than Chartered Land as they didn't have the track record of Dundrum and simply didn't have a site capable of delivering 50,000 sq m of retail boxes in MSU format. I hope that a revised proposal comes back for this site that focuses on a leisure element i.e. the best terrace of restaurants and cafes done to date in Dublin that can cater to a more sophisticated crowd than Temple Bar. Above all this site needs to be developed sustainably which will allow the developers to make money as it is a seriously strategic location that when fully let will deliver very healthy ITZA rates per sq m and they can get some height through the use of set backs / graduated internal punctuations on the basis of it being a very deep site. I would look at Goldman Sachs Int offices on Fleet St London and the way they used the former Art Deco Period Daily Telegraph Offices to mask a very high end office scheme in terms of the Indo Building.

Now the City Council have an excuse to stop neglecting Middle Abbey Street
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Re: Arnotts

Postby PVC King » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:35 pm

EU approves banks' move on Arnotts
Monday, 9 August 2010 18:08
The European Commission has approved the move to allow Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank assume full control of the Dublin department store Arnotts.

Arnotts is struggling with debts of €300m.

A leading retail specialist and CEO of private equity firm Palladin Capital Group, Mark Schwartz, is set to be appointed to oversee the management of the business. Mr Schwartz has been working closely with the banks and Arnotts for the last five months.

AdvertisementIn a statement, Anglo Irish Bank said it and Ulster Bank were totally committed to Arnotts.

The banks will not be involved in the management of the company but said they are taking the 'necessary steps' to ensure that the company will be run by experienced professionals in the best long term interest of the staff, suppliers and customers.

'While there has been understandable concern in recent days about the future of Arnotts, I wish to reassure staff, suppliers and customers that this great institution will continue to play a leading role in the Irish retail market,' Mr Schwartz said.

'Our goal is to focus on the future, work closely with our strong staff and our suppliers and create the conditions which will enable Arnotts to thrive for many years to come,' he added.

Arnotts generated debts arising from a proposed €750m redevelopment of the 5.5 acre area surrounding the store. The 'Northern Quarter' development was to include a shopping, entertainment and residential district.


This is a very positive development; the banks have taken a very mature decision to work this one through rather than kitchen sink the debt off their books. Does anyone know what the market cap of Arnotts was before the MBO was announced in the ill fated private ownership phase?
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Re: Arnotts

Postby KerryBog2 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:48 pm

PVC King wrote:This is a very positive development; the banks have taken a very mature decision to work this one through rather than kitchen sink the debt off their books. Does anyone know what the market cap of Arnotts was before the MBO was announced in the ill fated private ownership phase?



PVC I have to admire your bullish outlook. Positive development my nether regions!
That article is a large heap of equine excrement and bluster, rather than hard reporting. Why, oh why, cannot we have a level of financial journalism in this bloody country that might reach the level of Pass InterCert Business?

Why should the banks not exercise their rights as mortgagees? It’s not as if they are in a monopolistic position, unless they are “in” to lots of other retailers for equally dodgy amounts of debt?

Off the top of my head, Arnotts was bought by Nesbitt for 250 million in 2003. It had a t/o of about 150m back then and while it had an operating profit of about 10 mill, it was losing about the same bottom line. That was eroding the shareholders funds which stood at about 70m at the time of the MBO.

So, today, shareholders funds have been wiped out, the property values (plus the useless oddments & sodments sites around its perimeter) are a fraction of what they were bought for / have been booked at on the Balance Sheet, a debt of 300 million brings interest-only charges of minimum 15 million, and an operating profit (today) of probably slightly more than break-even (it was only 10 mill in the tiger years) means that the business, its model and its future is FU###(rudeword). For a very long time, if not forever.

Now, why were the questions about debt service, or the prospect of financial survival not asked? Coffee? nasal attributes?
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Re: Arnotts

Postby PVC King » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:53 am

You are a touch harsh; from a turnover of €150m a net margin of c10-15% should have been acheivable. Without the interest burden imposed by the €250m MBO I have no doubt the enterprise would not only have survived but have thrived because Arnotts is a very good retailer.

You would hope that the company in time recover to a €10m - €25m net profit level and be released back into the market when 3 years of solid returns are securely lodged with the Companies office this would give the banks a very safe exit. To me the Arnotts story is not unique; it is very clear that leveraged buy outs in retail are not a clear road to success but 7-10 years ago they seemed very attractive to many private equity houses and investment banks.
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Re:

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:05 pm

Paul Clerkin wrote:I've been following this up. Here is the illustration from the bag.

Image

And here is basically what exists now. Basically it seems that the original block which stretched from Princes Street to Henry Street was completely destroyed in 1894 after a fire. Designed by G.P Beater in 1894, extended in 1904. So either this is the design as reconstructed after the fire, or a completely new replacement design that was just never completed due to lack of funds or interest (ie original 1894 concept), or perhaps damaged beyond repair in 1916. The top of the tower was removed in 1949 which is a pity.

Image


We never did figure this out.
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Re: Arnotts

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:09 pm

arnottsfiresmall.jpg


Plan of Arnotts showing the extent of fire damage in 1894, issued by the fire brigade
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Re: Arnotts

Postby Paul Clerkin » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:54 am

539252_573366576023974_67104285_n.jpg


Photo showing the street level facade before the canopy - click to enlarge
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Re: Arnotts

Postby StephenC » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:30 pm

A great image of the street. Its amazing how its character has dramatically changed today. I would like to see the canopy removed. I think it would give the building a much more impressive front.
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