Bachelor’s bequest nets €27.5m

A BACHELOR farmer’s bequest has netted a whopping €27.5 million for a nursing home.

Two development sites at the foot of Cork’s Airport Hill sold at auction yesterday, taking just 25 minutes for the two deals under the hammer. The windfall proceed of the 11 grassy acres is set to benefit St Luke’s Nursing Home in Cork, which currently has 120 residents.

The total of 11 acres of land was expected to make up to €20m, in what was one of the country’s largest ever charitable bequests.

The generosity of farmer Sidney Northridge, who lived and farmed on this edge-of-city land and who died several years ago, secures future and extended services for the nursing home, a registered charity established in 1872.

Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross the Rt Rev Paul Colton, President of St Luke’s Home, said: “We are hugely humbled by this generosity, we dedicate the outcome to him with our thanks.”

The nursing home has moved locations twice in its history, and in fact Mr Northridge had offered his Airport Road lands to the home as a possible site for St Luke’s Home in the 1990s but it was deemed not suitable.

Its sale yesterday for the €27.5 million sum has given a far superior result for the home and its residents.

According to Bishop Colton, the success of the land sale may now allow the home to extend its care for the elderly beyond the confines of the home, into the wider community.

St Luke’s Home employs 186 people, and has a 99% occupancy of its 120 beds, which includes 30 beds for dementia patients.

The land at Ballycurreen, a few hundred yards from the Kinsale Road roundabout, has seven acres zoned for residential use on the upper portion, and four acres of commercially-zoned land on the lower section.

The four acres of zoned commercial land was bought by Dublin estate agent Ed Douglas, in trust for an undisclosed client, for €13.8m, and adjoins a larger site owned by Sisks who last year sought planning approval for a 96-bed hotel on their property.

The site may be suitable for business units, car or furniture showrooms.

Solicitor Elaine O’Driscoll of PJ O’Driscoll bid €13.7m for the seven acres of residentially zoned land, and was believed to be acting for developer Denis O’Flynn of O’Brien and O’Flynn.

Auctioneers were Malcolm Tyrrell and Maurice Cohalan of Cohalan Downing. Mr Cohalan noted afterwards that he had sold other land at Ballycurreen for the late Mr Northridge 36 years ago, selling four acres for £4,000.

Yesterday’s sale averaged, by contrast, €2.5m an acre.

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