THE presence of an important wetland habitat for migratory birds by the N25 road and a commuter rail line has generated the sales and marketing motto for Cork’s latest new homes development to launch this year: Harper’s Creek invites house hunters to “Come home to Glounthaune”.
However, roosting arrivals won’t have to drop in from the skies to land at Harper’s Island, or the adjacent Harper’s Creek development of 174 homes by O’Mahony Developments, as it’s just 500m from the commuter rail station at Glounthaune.
That station is served by two train lines, one from Cork city to Cobh, and, more recently, the re-opened rail line to Midleton since 2009. As part of the planning grant for Harper’s Creek, the company was obliged to provide new pedestrian and cycle paths from the significant-sized scheme to the train station and other services in the ‘village’, 7kms east of Cork city, on the northern, estuarine fringes of Cork Harbour.
Factor in the frequency of train movements, and the very recent improvements and reorientation at Kent rail station in the city, and rail commuting is a very real option for city-based house buyers, say father and son developers Frank O’Mahony and Kevin O’Mahony of the family-run firm, set up by siblings Frank and Martin O’Mahony, nearly 30 years ago.
Previous developments include Castlejane Woods, Glanmire and Glanmire Court, College Manor, Cobh and Midleton’s The Fairways, and this is their first return to building ‘at scale,’ on land they’d bought unzoned on the edge of Glounthaune in the mid-2000s, and which they held since.
While Cork awaits the release of the congested traffic bottleneck that is the Dunkathel roundabout and the Jack Lynch tunnel, the joys of rail commuting rise to the surface — which is perhaps why An Bord Pleanála asked the developer to increase, not decrease, the density of development to be delivered on the gently sloping site.
This new launch may also get traction from those working in Little Island, just a train stop away, or in Midleton, Carrigtwohill, or elsewhere along the two railway lines, it’s suggested. The scheme is released this weekend via a pre-launch registration, where buyers are asked to select three house numbers they are keen on, in the Anchorage section.
It’s the first phase and release of 32 homes — of 174 in all — across five distinct sections, with two-bed townhouses (967 sq ft), to four-bed detacheds of twice that size, 1,938 sq ft.
The mix includes a range of semi-ds and terraced homes too, spanning eleven house types in all, the first due for completion in a year’s time/Q1 2020, and features include concrete block construction, imported brick with dash finishes in this Anchorage section, as well as reconstituted stone for window and door surrounds, with air-sourced geo-thermal heating, provided underfloor at ground level, with rads upstairs.
Prices start at €285,000 for the 967 sq ft two-bed townhouse, and 1,183 sq ft three-bed end terraced houses are €320,000.
The market staple, the three-bed semis, go from €330,000 for a 1,184 sq ft home, up to €350,000 for 1,335 sq ft. Not all of the semis are in matching pairs, but have asymmetric layouts and facades for visual interest and diversity.
Four-bed semis of 1,560 sq ft to 1,700 sq ft range from €395,000 to €420,000, and four-beds detacheds span 1,733 sq ft to 1,938 sq ft and are priced at €485,000 and €505,000.
Ironically, Harper’s Creek launches this weekend via agents Suzanne Tyrrell and Jackie Cohalan of Cohalan Downing just as the important wildfowl amenity Harper’s Island Wetland Centre closes, but only until August 31.
The Co Council-owned facility, in conjunction with BirdWatch Ireland and local Glounthaune support and input, is temporarily shutting to unfeathered and two-legged visitors. It’s to allow for a new, second bird hide, a new 430m nature trail, a looped 700m walk, and a classroom for educational visits to the reserve. It’s much loved by bird-watchers and locals alike — as well as by black-tailed godwits by the thousands, black-headed gulls, dunlin, golden plover, greenshank, redshank, shelduck, teal and more.
VERDICT: New migration routes in East Cork.
Size: 90-180 sq m (967-1,938 sq ft)