Cash and cachet buyers at Cork city's Arbutus address

Upmarket city townhouse scheme offers convenience to traders-down, writes Tommy Barker.

Cash and cachet buyers at Cork city's Arbutus address

Upmarket city townhouse scheme offers convenience to traders-down, writes Tommy Barker.

  • Montenotte, Cork
  • €720,000
  • Size: 209/214 sq m (2,254/2,306 sq ft)
  • Bedrooms: 3/4
  • Bathrooms: 3
  • BER: A2

Despite strong price tags of €720,000 each, six agreed sales are reported already in a well-paced, pre-Christmas uptake on Cork city’s Arbutus new home development, under active construction between St Luke’s Cross and Montenotte, in part of the former grounds of the legendary Arbutus Lodge.

Also for sale is Arbutus Lodge itself, a former hotel and one-time Michelin stared restaurant, converted back to a private, 6,000 sq ft residence. A period, Georgian gem, or a Montenotte mansion, it’s priced at €1.35m via Savills — you could buy it for the price of two of its distant cousin, 21st century townhouses.

With six of the three-storey townhouses already booked at €720k a pop, there’s active interest being shown on three particular individual others of the 12 Arbutus townhouse builds, which were released last October, according to estate agent Suzanne Tyrrell, of Cohalan Downing.

Buyer profile, primarily for these high-end A-rated three/four bed 2,200 sq ft modern builds, is active traders-down, typically aged in their 50s and 60s, including some relocators from outside of Cork.

The fact these three-storey townhouses have their main living areas at lower ground level with large glazed roofs or skylights to the rear, and their en suite master bedroom two floors above for the best of views, doesn’t seem to be an issue for these ‘downwardly mobile’ purchasers. Many are ‘empty nesters,’ and several have asked for the optional four-bed houses to be reduced to just three bedrooms.

Ms Tyrrell is acting for developers M Homes, a collaboration between long-time home builders Murphy New Homes Banteer, and MC2 Accountants. It’s a new direction for Murphy New Homes, who up to now have built one-offs in Munster, and they also have a scheme now commenced in Tower.

Here in the city, and set on a challenging sloping, south facing site with a panorama of Cork city, River Lee, docklands and railway siding views, there are 16 three-storey, 2,200+ sq ft A-rated townhouses being delivered, 12 of them launched to market in the autumn, in two blocks. Completion and handover is due by May.

Currently held back from market are four in a separate block on the site’s northern side, directly under the original Georgian, 1830s- built over-basement Arbutus Lodge.

This block of four has, at best, obscure and oblique river/city views, mostly blocked by the two longer blocks to the south.

A2 rated, and easy to keep, easy to heat (air to water geothermal), and easy to leave and lock-up, the three residential blocks have low-pitched metal seam roofs, and are being finished externally with render banding and mellow looking brick slips, with external storage areas under lower ground level terraces.

VERDICT: City convenience, sun-tracking site and ‘Arbutus’ address seem to be winning a premium on price.

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