House of the week: Janeville development of 800 homes in Carrigaline, Co. Cork

Builder Stephen McCarthy of Astra Construction has built close on 2,000 houses, mostly around Carrigaline in south Cork since he started the firm in 1985. 

House of the week: Janeville development of 800 homes in Carrigaline, Co. Cork

But, instead of putting his feet up for his 65th birthday this year, Mr McCarthy (pic, below) marks it by pouring foundations for the first of what will be up to 800 more homes, to be delivered at a pace of 100 or 150 a year.

At a time of huge local and national need for new homes, Housing Minster (and local constituency TD) Simon Coveney was never not going to turn up, to turn the sod on what’s one of the largest new-build schemes to kick off anywhere outside of the Dublin region in more than a decade.

There’s full planning for the first 300 houses at Janeville, by the Shannonpark roundabout on the Cork side of bustling Carrigaline and a detailed overall development masterplan brief for the site of 100 acres agreed with Cork County Council will see up to 800 delivered in total, at an estimated development value of up to €300 million.

At this scale, Janeville’s on a size par with Cork’s Mount Oval Village in Rochestown, larger too than Maryborough Woods and Maryborough Ridge.

It’s larger also than Astra Construction’s two signal previous Carrigaline developments, Heron’s Wood near Janeville, which has 650 houses and services well established.

And, it’s twice as big as Astra’s 400-unit, highly landscaped Forest Hill on the south side of Carrigaline, which built away steadily during the downturn and was recently completed.

Now, estate agent Dan Howard who did the last of Forest Hill’s sales is back on the case for Astra Construction at Janeville which officially launched on Monday, when 32 of the phase one 39-house section to be released were booked off the plans.

The mix spanned 1,219 sq ft three-bedroomed semis at a price entry point of €290,000, with other three-beds at €320,000; four-bed semis at €350,0000; four-bed detacheds from €400,000; and three-storey 1,635 sq ft four-bed and 2,259 sq ft five-beds at prices from €420,000 to €465,000.

Half of the 32 sales were to first-time buyers, said Dan Howard, and demand was unexpectedly strong from the list of pre-sale inquiries for the larger builds too.

Among those opting for one of the bigger five-beds was local man John Cogan, who grew up on this farm and where his mother Mamie Cogan sold the land to Astra in 2004 for an undisclosed, multi-million euro sum back in ‘the boom.’

“He knows the name of every field on the farm,” noted Mr Howard as diggers started mounding earth during initial site and internal road works, adding that “there were no objections to the planning permission, which is remarkable for a development of this scale.”

Heading into yet another major scheme, Astra MD Stephen McCarthy said “we have always developed in Carrigaline as it is a great place to live with the best of both urban and rural amenities and facilities on the doorstep.

We are delighted to be starting this new development which will provide beautiful, high quality homes.”

More than 100 construction jobs will move onto the 100-acre green field site in coming months, with local Carrigaline-based firm Eco Timber Frame doing the initial skeletons for what will be Astra’s first time going the timber frame route for their A-rated builds, described as ‘future-proofed,’ by auctioneer Dan Howard.

Design of the part brick-faced new houses at the ambitious Janeville (builder Stephen McCarthy’s mother was called Jane) scheme which will dovetail with N28 upgrades and infrastructure investment are PLM Architects.

Homes started now on the first 39 in phase one are scheduled for completion by December of this year, it’s stated, with a further 35 to be released in phase 2 in three months time.

Shovel in hand at the groundbreaking ceremony at Janeville, Minister Simon Coveney declared that “a development of this scale will have a big impact on housing availability in the Cork region”, while Mayor of the County of Cork Seamus McGrath welcomed the initial phase of construction on the Shannonpark Masterplan site.”

Also in attendance Monday at Janeville’s kick-off was Fianna Fáil’s Finance spokesperson, Michael McGrath TD, whose family home is just across the R611 main route into Carrigaline and who informed builder Stephen McCarthy, in the shelter of the site’s first structure, a site portable building, “my daughter wants to know when you’ll be opening the shops!”

VERDICT: Sizes and prices to suit all comers on an easily accessed ‘harbour’ side of Carrigaline.

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