Reached by a short ferry ride, the romantic island idyll has a grounded business base that includes a four-star 20-bed castle hotel with an 800-year history, 43 five-star guest lodges, over 300 acres of land with grazing Sika deer, and a Des Smyth-designed golf course (with 430 members) on 200 acres which opened in 1992.
Anticipated to come to market before year’s end, the property mix and island is getting launched now with Marcus Magnier of Colliers International guiding €4.5m-plus. He was also involved in last year’s sale of the Fota Island Resort and golf club in Cork harbour, for a reported €20m. That resort offer had over 200 international inquiries and sold to Cork-based Chinese family the Kangs who also bought and reopened Cork’s Kingsley Hotel.
Waterford Castle comes with its modest- seeming price guide as international and Irish interest drives offers on Co Limerick’s trophy buy, Adare Manor estate on 766 acres close to a €40m deal, well over its initial €25m guide. “Waterford is an outstanding resort property, with unlimited potential for further growth and development of sporting facilities,” says Mr Magnier.
The present Waterford Castle on Little Island, just east of the city and reached via Ballinakill, was developed into a luxury small hotel in 1988, and has sections dating to the 16th century having been associated for over 800 years with the Fitzgerald family, related to Strongbow.
The €4.5m-plus being sought equates to less than €15,000 per acre on land values alone. At one stage, it had over 200,000sq ft of glasshouses as horticultural enterprise.
The asking price equates to €100,000 or so for each of the 43 lodges clustered on nine acres included in the sale. In 2007 they were priced up to €850,000.