Greenfield Cork city site with a gilt edge

Greenfield sites hardly come any better, or beguiling, than this. Seven acres of ‘farm’ land, recently shorn of its annual crop of maize, between the two main Douglas Roads in suburban Cork, within a walk of the city centre have just come up for sale as a truly prime development opportunity.

Greenfield Cork city site with a gilt edge

By Tommy Barker

Greenfield sites hardly come any better, or beguiling, than this. Seven acres of ‘farm’ land, recently shorn of its annual crop of maize, between the two main Douglas Roads in suburban Cork, within a walk of the city centre have just come up for sale as a truly prime development opportunity.

Offered for sale by licence agreement, there’s the chance to deliver Cork’s first, purpose-built high density PRS apartment development, in a location that’s assuredly gild-edged.

Apartments here would make top rents, and/or top sales prices, and the site is one of very few in Cork deemed profitable for apartment delivery of scale. The land can be expected to have a value in excess of €1m an acre, but no figures are publicly indicated given the intention to sell by licence agreement, the second such licence sale offer in the southern capital this year.

Rich in history, graced by some woodland and the presence of a once-elegant villa home, the sale by the Whitaker family of Ballincurrig Villa and 7.24 acres of zoned development land at Cork’s South Douglas Road is set to attract the keenest local, and national, interest, with a sale date set for December 13.

Set between the main and south Douglas Roads, by what’s been a Johnson & Perrott motor dealership for 50 years, Ballincurrig Villa dates to about 1820, and was bought 100 years ago by the Perrott/Whitaker family who own the highly progressive, 1810-founded firm Johnson & Perrott (J&P).

The bow-ended house’s traditional entrance has been on the main Douglas Road, opposite Eglantine School, and over the past century the property has been home to three generations of the Whitaker family, with two more modern homes since built on its northern boundary.

Possibly suited to conversion to several private apartments for retirees, the original 3,000 sq ft, over-basement villa, is a protected structure, listed in the National Inventory, and has not been lived in for about 30 years, according to J&P chief executive officer Mark Whitaker.

“Our site at Douglas Road was originally acquired by William Perrott in 1917 and has been part of our family business heritage ever since,” Mr Whitaker says, confirming the family’s decision to sell an extraordinary plot which has been farmed for decades, in the midst of well-heeled suburbia. They aim, via the licence control sale method, to ensure that a quality residential scheme is undertaken, next door to their own private family homes and the existing motor dealership on the Douglas Road, which has more than 40 employees.

“We are looking forward to working in partnership to maximise the residential potential of part of the lands to deliver a modern, exciting city living experience,” Mr Whitaker observes and committs “we would stress to our customers and staff that the development will not affect our dealership operations at Douglas Road, and that we will continue to grow and invest in the business for the long term.”

The company, which controls a number of car and truck marques and which has a significant vehicle leasing business, also has significant car sales sites at Mahon Point (where it moved to after selling the original carriageworks to O’Callaghan Properties on Emmet Place to facilitate the Opera Lane development) and, more recently, on Bandon Road, where it has just opened a Land Rover and Jaguar dealership, and has started siteworks alongside for a new Volvo showrooms.

Selling agents appointed on the suburban Ballincurrig Villa and lands are Peter O’Meara, Cork Savills MD, and James O’Donovan. They say the land “is one of, if not the best greenfield residential development site to come to the city market in the past 10 to 15 years.”

Size-wise, it’s on a par with the former Nemo Rangers site, by the Cross Douglas Road, which has lain fallow since the mid 2000s, with plans approved earlier this year for c 200 homes, primarily apartments, with 49 houses.

Ballincurrig Villa “is located in one of Cork’s finest residential addresses and comes to the open market via licence agreement, presenting developers with the opportunity to secure a significant development opportunity subject to planning permission. It will be a great boost to the Cork market as it offers a significant development opportunity, particularly given the structure (licence agreement) of the sale,” says Mr O’Meara.

“The site is capable of accommodating a large number of residential units in the short term, and has the potential to deliver Cork’s first purpose-built PRS development, subject to planning permission, in one of the most desirable residential addresses in the city,” adds Mr O’Donovan.

Bounded on the east by Tramore Lawn, and to the west by Rathmore Lawn/Rhodaville Estate, the development land and classical Ballincurrig Villa residence, along with old stone stable block remains, cobbled courtyard and section of quarry amid woodland, will be accessed off the South Douglas Road, opposite the gated entrance to the Georgian Ballincurrig House. The area, 2.5kms from the city centre and less than 1 km from Douglas village, was suburbanised in the mid-1900s, served by up to eight schools.

“This is one of the best residential development sites to come to the market in the city for some time and is one of the last remaining greenfield development sites located along the South Douglas Road. It is rare that an opportunity such as this comes to the open market and we expect a good level of interest from developers, both locally and nationally, given its location and the structure of the sale,” say Savills.

They described the licence option as “attractive from a developer’s point of view, as the initial outlay can be considerably less compared to a straight sale. The site offers fantastic development potential and is ideally suited to a high end apartment scheme that would command strong rents and sales values.”

It’s served by three bus routes, is close to the south city ring road and is zoned Residential, Local Services & Institutional Use.

DETAILS: Savills 021-4271371

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