Cross the line and go back to the future at Bellevue Villas

Tommy Barker highlights a double offering overlooking Cork’s vision of future.

IT is a case of a double offering this month for Bellvue Villas, where a second large Georgian gem on a railside terrace of three houses has just cropped up for sale.

A new market arrival is 2, Bellvue Villas, a mid-terraced four-storey over-basement home, of 4,800 sq ft carrying a price tag of €1.65m with estate agent Billy Casey of Casey and Kingston auctioneers.

It joins its neighbour, No 3, on the short Cork city list of available period gems.

No 3 hit the market in October 2007 with Sherry FitzGerald, guiding €2m at the time, and that price expectation for a mint condition Georgian townhouse is now reduced to €1.7m.

Bellevue Villas is one of Cork’s best-kept Georgian rows.

The trio had common owners in several previous ownerships, before each house found separate new occupants in the past five or six years.

The word ‘enclave’ suits for its setting, backed into the scooped out red sandstone cliff with remarkable micro-climate gardens (mostly communal) with the Cork to Cobh line and soon to be Cork-Midleton commuter service too separating it from the Lower Glanmire Road.

The aspect is southerly, overlooking the River Lee, the Marina, and with the city’s docklands evolution coming along the river to meet it.

Access is currently via an overhead pedestrian bridge, or via an Irish Rail-manned level crossing, which puts your common or garden electronic access gates back into perspective.

CIE has plans in place for a very costly (and none too pretty, from the drawings) flyover to service Bellevue Villas, as well as the nearby Myrtle Hill terrace. They must surely be tempted to buy up Bellevue Villas’ three houses, and save themselves the effort ... but they are now legally obliged to provide the new flyover.

Across the river is the spot where Howard Holdings are awaiting planning for their 1bn docklands development, Atlantic Quarter, which will feature three towers, one 30 storeys, one 20, the other 10, to a design by Foster and

Partners, as well as a proposal for a 50-metre pivoting span bridge designed by Wilkinson Eyre, with Arup.

In other words, Bellvue Villa’s’ long link with the past and its present perch may end up looking at Cork’s vision of the future.

The vendors of No 2 have a young family of four children, and are reluctantly selling up. Their consolation for a move across the river is the chance to do up another period property.

This house needs nothing done to it, it appears, with pristine period features inside and out, more or less a textbook example (like its neighbours) of sensitive restoration practice.

It has a slated roof, restored sash windows front and back, and independent access to the lower level/basement, which can be as readily used as a self-contained apartment or integrated into the daily family life of the house.

The main entry level has a formal, colour-washed reception room to the front, with twin sash windows, and a gracious arch and double doors to a dining room behind, with a kitchenette behind: a larger kitchen is in the basement.

The first floor has the piece-de-resistence reception room, 28’ wide and 16’ deep, with original marble fireplace and three sash windows overlooking the river, flooding the room with light. (Quality names used in the interior decor include Mulberry, Zoffany, Osbourne and Little, Colefax and Fowler, and Farrow and Ball paints.)

The ornate plaster cornice work and ceiling rose are in original condition, and average ceiling heights are 11’. Behind this principal drawing room is a large bedroom, with a bathroom behind.

The second floor (yes, there’s a lot of upward mobility here) has two more bedrooms, one with an en-suite bathroom off, and the other links into a nursery/dressing room alongside.

The top floor/attic level has three more rooms under sloping, characterful ceilings, with skylights, several of them possible bedrooms, den or storage.

Bellevue Villas has ‘secret’ gardens in keeping with the houses’ period feel and world-apart setting, with a private enclosed courtyard.

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