House of the week: Get your roubles ready for home from Russia, with love

Sharing the same name as a popular wine brand, Midleton’s new homes scheme called Blossomhill could be said to have come from Russia, with love.

Sharing the same name as a popular wine brand, Midleton’s new homes scheme called Blossomhill could be said to have come from Russia, with love.

Behind the East Cork Blossomhill development which will run to over 100 new-builds, in three phases, is a company called Castle Rock Homes: its CEO is Tim Murray, an engineer who’s come back to Ireland after the best part of 20 years working in Russia, with the likes of giant Irish company Mercury Engineering, and Dornan Engineering where he was a shareholder, companies turning over as much as a €100 million a year in contracts.

He’s worked in places well to the east of Cork, such as Moscow, and Tengiz and Karachaganack in Kazakhstan, plus Afghanisstan, across 30 major international projects. They including completing high-end offices for the likes of Deutsche Bank, Johnson&Johnson and Bloomberg, directly opposite the Kremlin. He’s now returned to native Cork shores, where with Castle Rock partners John Daly and Peter O’Sullivan he has picked up house sites and some part-completed developments, east and west of the city, and has handed over the last of 40 new-builds at Castletreasure, Douglas, to Cork County Council.

Currently, Castle Rock is actively building 85 houses, with sites for up to 300 to follow, in Midleton by Broomfield where they are primarily finishing out McInerney sites, in Innishannon’s Barr na Claise, and on the Old Cork Road in Bandon, some of which were started and stalled during the construction crash.

Despite quipping that “the bureaucracy here is worse than in Russia”, he has sold the first handful of Castle Rock completions, mostly infills, and now Saturday next sees the launch of his first greenfield ‘calling card,’ Midleton’s Blossomhill, with a showhouse opening (November 18 12-2pm).

Done out by Annmarie McCarthy of MAC Interiors, it’s at No 8 Poppyfields, just across the road from the active site at Blossomhill where Castle Rock have completed three detacheds, and so is of a different type - but it allows would-be buyers can get an idea of the standard of construction and finish in the scheme’s first phase of 29 units, with 80 more currently under Bord Pleanala appeal. (The same Poppyfield showhouse type (pics, left), with its distinctive V-shaped rear wing, will also feature in the Bandon development, to be launched with agent Mark Kelly.

Design of Blossom Hill is by Deady Gahan Architects and spans a variety of types, some part-stone faced, and has three beds semis of a decent 1,270 sq ft, through four-bed semis of 1,529 sq ft priced at €355,000, and four-bed detacheds at 1,800 sq ft and 2,228 sq ft.

There’s nothing priced below the ‘magic’ €300k figure: instead, three bed semis (bigger than most) are priced at €307,500, but come with a PC sum of €16,000, and will have fitted kitchens, carpets and fully tiled, and so won’t cost much more to be fully ready for owner occupation.

The PC sums stretch to €18,000 and €22,500 for the larger four-bed detacheds (€435,000/€485,00) which come with heat recovery systems as standard. All houses have solar panels for water heating, and gas central heating.

The A3-rated entry level, block built three-bed semi is of a sufficient size that buyers can start a family, and have a few children without having to trade up, says Mr Murray. “The problem in the mid-2000s was couples buying apartments which weren’t suitable for children; the homes we’re selling here come with very large, c 600 sq ft floored attic storage space and are designed and built to be homes for life.”

Every square inch appears to be maxxed out, with good-sized rooms throughout (all three bedrooms in the semis will take a double bed) and with hot water tanks put up in the attic so that hot-press space on the first floor landing holds much more household stuff.

Estate agent Shay Cronin of Cronin Wall says he expects a broad range of interest in Blossomhill, given the strength of employment locally, in Carrigtwohill and in Little Island - where a significant new office/employment boost is expected to be confirmed this side of Christmas.

VERDICT: Get your roubles ready.

Broomfield, Midleton, Cork

€307,500-€485,000

Size: 1,270 sq ft – 2,228 sq ft

Bedrooms: 3-4

Bathrooms: 3

BER: A3

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