Greenbanks site will prove a shrewd investment for canny purchaser

GREENBANKS, a detached house on Cork’s Well Road, went up for sale in late 2005, just as the housing boom hit its peak — but despite spiralling prices, it took the market by surprise.

From a standing start of €1.5 million, it sold for €2.9 m, including an extra site worth €500,000.

Greenbanks was the house that Rory Gallagher bought for his mother, Monica, on a three-quarter acre, estuarine site and it went to market after her death.

Brian Olden of Cohalan Downing took the property to auction in the heady, champagne days leading up to Christmas of 2005.

The additional site of just under a quarter acre came with its own history: accommodating an unfinished new build for some time, and in contravention of planning, (with a saga ensuing), it was bought back by Monica Gallagher, shortly before she died.

John Cotter of Axiom Private Clients beat off the competition to nab the three-quarter acre lot at €2.9 million and his partner, Finbarr Tierney, subsequently sought planning for 10, three-storey townhouses on the site.

Sustained and organised local opposition, (centred around height levels), saw those plans withdrawn in early 2007 and a new application followed in late August for just four houses. This proved successful in late 2007 and the sites are only now coming to market with Jackie Cohalan of Cohalan Downing.

Mrs Gallagher’s house is now gone and work is in progress on services and a linear roadway running along the eastern side of the long, rectangular site.

The houses, suitably large to fit the high-end location are stacked in a row, with the largest site of half an acre occupying a prime waterside position

The plans, by architect, Richard Rainey, are ‘tastefully distinctive’, she says, and the specification include a light London brick finish.

Prices for the 0.2 acre sites start at €850,000, for nos 1, 2, 3, while no 4, on a half acre and facing full south over Douglas estuary, has a guide of €1.1 million.

The gardens in 1-3 face south and west, and the total area for the houses runs from 3,538 square feet to 3,885 sq ft.

No 4, however, despite having the largest site, has the smallest house at 3,038 square ft, down to the visibility of its location.

Potentially, Greenbanks could be up there with the Howard Holdings Eyrecourt scheme in Rochestown, says Malcolm Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing, a gated estate with eye-watering prices when first launched in the late nineties.

And ‘once the dust settles’ an acquisition at Greenbanks, will prove to be a shrewd investment, he adds.

A rough assessment of the site costs, delays and planning problems would show a low margin for the developers, which means a win for the purchasers.

And that’s the pitch really — if these sites had arisen earlier in this century, it would have been chequebooks at dawn. Now, a smaller pool of potential buyers have the option of taking a chance when the market is low.

And across the road, at Manakin, two sites at €800,000 and €850,000, with full planning for large, detached houses, are on offer through Savills and Murray Browne following a pre-Christmas launch.

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