Doing the Charleston

A DEVELOPMENT tide has turned in Midleton’s favour in East Cork and now, possibly the best waterside site in the area is set for building on as a €20 million scheme goes on site.

The former malt house complex, Charleston Wharf, at Ballinacurra, a mile from the town centre, is to be the centrepiece of an 80-unit scheme of duplex houses and apartments.

The old stone Charlestown Wharf maltings buildings date from 1791, and were initially developed by John Lapp and John Anderson, entrepreneurs whose names are still recalled in Cork city with street names Lapp's Quay and Anderson's Quay.

The up to five-storey maltings building and stores were also owned for a while by Arthur Guinness, with grain shipped from the quayside here to Dublin for the black brew to rival Cork's own stout rivals Murphy's and Beamish.

The Ballinacurra site is south facing with extensive water frontage, and has an existing slipway which can be used by new residents, though tidal restrictions mean boats can only use the channel when the tide is quite high.

The scheme is being developed by Charleston Holdings, comprising brothers Trevor and Gary Coyne, with a background in the bar business, along with Diarmuid Foley. The latter bought the site five years ago and has a track record of building in Cork city and in Roxboro, Midleton. Builders are Murphy Construction, Carrigtwohill.

Design is by Kevin FitzGerald of Roderick Hogan architects and includes 33 duplex and apartment units in the building, with features like roof gardens, balconies, arches and stone work.

The first phase, however, is of new-build units, and eight of the first block of 18 duplexes go on the market this weekend with Catherine McAuliffe of CB Hamilton Osborne King.

Sizes range from 755 sq ft to 1,200 sq ft and prices range from 185,000 to 255,000, with interest expected from owner occupiers, investors and traders down.

Extensive use is made of glazing in the new units, with lots of double height windows and glass walls, as well as internal galleries in some of the units. Turnkey packages and an interior design service are also offered.

The scheme looks south, over towards a mature Coillte forest and back over the Charleston Estate. Boats can gain access to Cork harbour on a relatively full tide, and the vicinity has attractive walks and is just a few minutes from Midleton's heart. Earlier projects built here at Ballinacurra include developments by McInerney's and builders Joe Neville.

Midleton is one of the fastest-growing areas in Cork at present, even though the local authority predicated its growth on the provision of a rail link to Cork city a project put in some doubt as strained Government finances put many CIÉ and infrastructural projects on hold.

Another temporary set-back hit the town's development roll in recent weeks: plans for a major shopping complex, with cinemas, at the Mart Site by Cork Marts, approved by Cork County Council, have been appealed to An Bord Pleanála by Clayton Love's Blackpool Developments company.

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