City development filling up

THE lands that formed part of the old St Joseph's Monastery in Blarney St in Cork are slowly being covered by houses and beginning to form one of the most unusual integrated developments in the city, despite the fact that planning permission was given before the implementation of Part V of the Planning Act 2000.

Originally purchased by developer Paul Kenny, who with architect Richard Rainey, laid down the master-plan for the site, the Blarney Street land was subsequently sold in separate lots to individual development companies.

First off the building block were Mc Inerney Developments, whose Monastery Hill scheme of detached, semi-detached and townhouse units is now completed.

Marketed through Cahalane Skuse, this estate has sold out save for one four-bed detached unit at €275,000.

Meanwhile, Alliance Building systems of Macroom made overtures to Cork City Council for their portion of the site and are now completing phase one of a social housing development of 72 units under a fixed price contract.

Paul Moynihan, Senior Executive Officer in the Council's housing department, says they are very pleased with the houses completed so far and are in the process of allocating tenants.

The mixed scheme, designed by Richard Rainey, combines 2, 3 and 4-bed units, and duplexes in an estate with access from Blarney Street.

From the council's point of view, the fixed price method has been very successful, says Mr Moynihan, because it gives a lower per unit price, but with the same quality as a private scheme. And, because the builder is under a price constraint, the impetus is there to complete the development as quickly as possible.

To provide affordable housing, in line with their policy, the Council also came to an agreement with McInerney's to develop Hollyhill Lane, an access route running from Hollyhill to Blarney Street and a target area under the Hollyhill/Knocknaheeny Masterplan.

By agreement, McInerneys have now developed 21 affordable houses off this laneway, which has effectively closed off the Monastery Hill site while opening up a previously overgrown laneway as well as meeting a housing need. A neat solution to a number of problems. The list of applicants for these houses in now over a hundred, says Mr Moynihan. The council also have plans for a courtyard development of 18 houses to the back of the site with access from Baker's Road.

The latest development to come on stream here is a 10-unit scheme fronting directly onto Blarney Street.

Work has just begun on site by D&D Developments and Michael McKenna of McKenna O'Donoghue Clarke says two of the 10 have already been sold off the plans. Priced at €210,000, the three bedroomed units come with large back gardens, ground floor guest bathroom, a living room, kitchen/dining room and utility.

There should be strong investor as well as owner/occupiers interest here, he says, as the location is close to UCC.

Finally, a 12-unit development of apartments with Section 50 status is now being released by McInerney Developments. Peter Skuse of Cahalane Skuse is in the charge of the sale and gives a price of €240,000 per unit. This should add the last demographic to an innovative mixed scheme.

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