Tommy Barker finds new scheme in the Mahon/Skehard area is a well-priced 2019 new homes suburban Cork development
The family name of one of Cork city’s most philanthropic families, the Crawford dynasty of Beamish & Crawford brewery renown, is recalled in the 65-home development Crawford Gate, which is breaking ground, just as 2018 winds up and with first delivery of terraced homes due by the third quarter of 2019.
Set just off the Skehard Road linking Mahon with the city through just-upgraded suburban roads, and across the road from the sprawling grounds of Bessboro Convent, Crawford Gate is, effectively, the first significant residential development in a suburban location now specially ear-marked by Cork City Council. City Hall in 2018 has granted material contravention of older/industrial zonings for vitally needed new homes’ provision, in a very well serviced suburb.
It will be a first step towards meeting pent-up demand not only in the Skehard Road, Blackrock/Mahon area, and its booming office parks and retail developments, but also across the wider city, with a very clear focus on First Time Buyers.
And, with prices starting from €320,000 for extensively fitted out homes, the developers DOB claim that “Crawford Gate will be 2019’s best-priced new homes in Cork’s best neighbourhood.”
Behind Crawford Gate are DOB Developments, which forges a new homes delivery with veteran Cork developer Denis O’Brien, co-counder of one of Cork’s most successful and prolific housing firms O’Brien & O’Flynn and who has a 40-year track record.
Driving DOB Developments forward now, into a second generation, are Denis O’Brien’s daughter, Denise O’Brien with her husband Shane Keogh.
Launching just prior to Christmas, co-director Shane Keogh says “our aim is to deliver affordable, great quality homes that give purchasers the ability to live and work in the city, without compromise. We are acutely aware of macro-prudential rules that restrict borrowers and lenders alike and for that reason we have priced Crawford Gate homes accordingly.”
Already DOB has been active on smallers schemes and sites at Ballintemple/Beaumont, and at Bishopstown, as well as delivering high-end student accommodation at locations like Magazine Road, via a related company, Mideam.
Included in their plans is a proposal for nine luxury homes, on Cork’s Orchard Road, on the one acre site of a house called San Paula, which they bought a year ago for a recorded €1.9 million.
Coincidentally, that site adjoins the Brookfield Holiday Complex and student accommodation campus off College Road, developed over 20 years ago by O’Brien and O’Flynn. That development, which includes demolition of the luxury private home San Paula, is currently with An Bord Pleanála.
Crawford Gate carries future promise, set as it is in the heart of a rapidly-evolved suburb, with an utter transformation of the Mahon Peninsula and Blackrock’s outer hinterland in the past 20 years.
This was all kick-started by City Hall when it sold 110 acres of land here to Owen O’Callaghan and McCarthy Developments in the late 1990s, with completion of the Jack Lynch Tunnel and south city ring road ending Mahon’s peninsular ‘end of the city’ status, where Cork’s expansive inner harbour fans out.
Also in the same immediate vicinity to Crawford Gate is a plan for 135 homes, the majority of them apartments, on the Right Price Tiles site adjoining Crawford Gate, which is owned by businessman Chris Dinneen, while a 2.47 ‘brownfield’ site just south of Clover Lawn, previously occupied by Hormann Security, and now cleared, has outline planning for 35 homes, and is currently for sale with a €1.5 m price tag.
Now active on the ground, Crawford Gate is to be delivered in three phases, on a greenfield site of 3.8 acres, on peninsula lands once associated with one of Mahon’s great historic homes, Lakelands.
Lakelands was the family home, and farm and Robinsonian gardens, of the Crawford family, originally Scottish, founders of Beamish & Crawford in 1792. They endowed Cork’s Crawford Gallery, Crawford School of Art, and helped finance the building of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, among many other civic minded supports in their adopted city.
The Crawford family home, Lakelands, was torn down 140 years ago, after the death in October 1888 of William Horatio Crawford, who’d inherited it from his father William. In the mid 19th century Lakelands was noted internationally for its arboretum and glasshouses, used for raising tender Himalayan and Andean tree species.
Most have vanished, but a huge monkey puzzle tree which stands sentinal by the south city ring road and the Jack Lynch tunnel’s southern end recalls the position of the original Lakelands.
Mahon, Blackrock and Ballinure’s other great houses included Ringmahon House, associated with the Murphy family (and, later, Ben Dunne snr,) as well as the 1700s-built Bessborough, once home of the Pike family, now a convent, which now houses a social services centre on a considerable landbank. A quiet off-market sale at Bessborough is understood to be progressing, to an out-of-town buyer.
Branding for Crawford Gate has just gone up opposite Bessborough’s grounds, for DOB Developments’ 65 houses, to be sold via estate agents Sam Kingston and Jennifer Roe of Casey & Kingston.
Sizes range from 1,000 sq ft to 1,450 for three and four-bed terraced homes with gardens, designed by Paul Mulligan of Reddy Architecture and Urbanism. Of particular interest to first-time buyers, it is registered with the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme.
Prices start from €320,000 for the smaller of the mid-terraced three-beds (four-beds at €340,000) and this includes fitted kitchens, appliances and built-ins, with flooring finishes to be specified by buyers.
“There is a huge shortage of affordable new-build, quality homes on the market at the moment and we believe that Crawford Gate will go a long way to meet the pent-up demand that currently exists in Cork city,” says auctioneer Sam Kingston, adding “it will be a development which delivers on various levels.”
Handover of the first phase, now being released (see www.crawfordgate.ie), will be by quarter three, 2019, while two show-homes, showcasing the three- and four-bed options, will be available in June 2019, by North Design.
Currently completing a rebrand of DOB Developments, the second-generation management team of Shane Keogh and Denise O’Brien say there are dynamic changes but, equally, “we’re cognisant of DOB’s long-established origins. We’re committed to honour and build on the company’s reputation in successfully delivering quality and affordable housing to the Cork market; a reputation hard won over 40 years by founder Denis O’Brien.”
VERDICT: Well-pitched homes.
Skehard Road, Blackrock, Cork
Size: 1,000 sq ft-1,450 sq ft