The sale of 370 acres at Hangman’s Point, Kinsale, Co Cork, to Tupperware tycoon Richard Goings has finally closed the lid on a protracted development sage on the sensitive coastal site.
Goings has acquired half of what was to be the Kinsale Harbour Resort site for nearly €3.5m, or just under €10,000 per acre, regarded as a good price for a buyer, even in agricultural land values.
And while the chief executive of the Tupperware brand slated US consumers earlier this year for what he termed a “discount mentality”, Goings wasn’t averse to picking up a bargain himself — the Ballymacus/Prehane tillage land he bought was originally acquired for multiples of the amount he paid.
Granted permission in 2005, the €600m tourism scheme on 650 acres of headland within 8km of Kinsale town received backing from a number of government ministers and was launched under a blaze of publicity.
It proposed a five-star, 200-bed hotel set on an Ernie Els-designed golf course, with PGA approval and associated international equestrian sporting facilities.
Backed by XS Projects and spearheaded by local investors Sean Rainey and John Casey, the ambitious scheme ended up becoming a morality tale of the Celtic Tiger years and was stymied by one man, retired sailor Thomas Harding, who went to the High Court to injunct the scheme.
Although subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court on a point of law, the scheme became the subject of an oral hearing by An Bord Pleanála in winter 2008 and rejected in early 2009 by the planning board.
The following August, just before the investment company behind the scheme, Kinsale Resort Developments Ltd, went into liquidation, the assets were seized by ACC bank, which placed the properties, mostly land, in the hands of receiver Barry Donoghue of KPMG.
The advent of Goings as a buyer has ended the saga and, according to local reports, the tillage land will be leased out for the foreseeable future.
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