Christmas rush on for land sales

Development scope: Tivoli House is on over three elevated acres with scope for 10 more houses.

By Tommy Barker

BUILDER and developer appetites for development sites, especially residential ones, are to be tested in several late, and significant, 2018 Cork city and suburban sales.

Coming up just after a tender date has just passed for 43 acres at Maryborough Ridge, guided at €20m and which got local, national and interest bids via CBRE, are a clutch of tender and ‘best bids’ deadlines looming by year’s end, and joined just this week by the just-launched Tivoli House, on over three acres with scope for 10 more houses, guiding €2.65m, by private treaty via Sherry FitzGerald.

Most immediately concentrating minds, though, are pivotal and likely headline making sites, mostly in the suburbs, but also and especially that of Moores Hotel and AOH Hall on Morrisons Island, just off the South Mall. Combined totalling 0.6 of an acre, and facing south over the Lee, AOH/Moores is currently bid at €6.8m and is now going to tender with ERA Downey McCarthy, with a sale due to close on February 14.

Reckoned to be one of the very best sites to come to the southern city’s market in several years, Moores/AOH has had very vigorous and diverse interest shown in it for offices, hotel, and apartments/student accommodation, with the likes of strong city players like JCD (currently completing 85 South Mall for offices) and O’Callaghan Properties set to face some very random competition on it.

Despite An Taisce objections this month to the 15-storey Prism tower office project approved by City Hall at Clontarf Street, citing existing policy on protected views, similar planning restrictions on protected views, such as those at Holy Trinity church and other spires do not seem to be dampening interest in the Moores Hotel/AOH site, with intending purchasers “taking their own view” says ERA’s Seán McCarthy.

Agents ERA are also continuing viewings at the historic Lotamore House, Tivoli, on 36 acres, half of it zoned residential, with an overall guide of €7m, and an offer of €1m on the unlived in mansion and 17 acres.

Meanwhile, a late November date for best bids is set for land at Ardarostig, west of Bishopstown, guiding excess €6m for 15.9 acres owned by the Grafton Group next to the Audi showrooms, via Savills, which, crucially, adjoins a Strategic Land Reserve.

Savills also have a swift uptake on seven truly prime acres at South Douglas Road, being sold for the Whitaker family who own Johnson& Perrott. Proposals are due by December 13. It’s likely to make over €1m per acre, and is being sold under licence.

Close-by, one of the first ‘sale by licence’ offers in Cork had a tender date close out last week, for 43 acres at Maryborough Ridge, in two sections, one with FPP for 250 houses: it’s reckoned to be one of the most market-friendly sites of scale in the city this year.

Sources say it was hotly contested, by local and ‘out of town’ afield bidders, but a spokesperson for agents CBRE (who sold a south docklands site of 11 acres for c €15m to Glenveagh Properties this year, see also p18) could not be reached for confirmation or to indicate the lead bidder’s identity.

Finally, private treaty is the preferred sale option so far for the new-to-market Tivoli House, a private, refurbed architect designed home at the top of the Tivoli Estate (pic, above.)

It spans 2,200sq ft on over three acres and is guided at €2.65m by Gillian McDonnell and Ann O’Mahony of Sherry FitzGerald, whose SF commercial wing Cushman & Wakefield last year sold two, linked period homes between Lovers’ Walk/Tivoli and Middle Glanmire Road, subsequently with planning applications made for house development.

Designed by Cork architect Jim Buchan in the early 1960s, in the former market garden grounds of the long-demolished Palladian mansion Tivoli House, this modern iteration was sold several years ago, showing at €910,000 on the Price Register in 2015 before renovations, and the grounds could accommodate up to 10 more detached houses, suggest agents Sherry FitzGerald.

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