DEVELOPMENT sites in Cork now acquired by listed home builders Cairn Homes and private equity group Lone Star as part of this month’s €503 million Ulster Bank Project Clear swoop include land at Castletreasure outside Douglas, AbbeyFort in Kinsale, a 0.45 acre site at Dennehys Cross and the fire-damaged Good Shepherd Convent in Sunday’s Well.

The four sites are among 31 in total showing a 78% discount from a one-time valuation of €2bn sold by the bank, with scope for as much as 20,000 homes in Dublin, at Adamstown, Blackrock and Portmarnock. 

It equates to as much as 17% of zoned available land in the Dublin area, and among those also in pursuit of the portfolio was Cork-based developer Michael O’Flynn with US finance via Avenue, as well as Avestus, Castlethorn, Hines and Cerberus.

Cairn Homes and Loan Start have a 75:25 split on the €503m Project Clear acquisition; while their focus will be on the plum Dublin assets, the sale may now clear the way for development in Cork also on stalled sites.

They are expected to deal with Ulster Bank borrowers, Killarney-based Dunboy Construction on the 22-acres Abbey Fort site, which had planning in the mid 2000s for 260 units.

The other Cork assets sold by Ulster Bank/RBS were associated with the Conway family’s Frinailla, with over 60 acres zoned medium density in Castletreasure, Douglas, and to include 7.5 acres of open space for a public park. In the mid-2000s, Frinailla had proposed relocating Douglas GAA club from the village to lands at Castletreasure.

Also in the Frinailla Cork sites trio is the vacated Dennehys Cross car showroom (pictured at bottom right of image above) and hardstand, totalling 0.45 acres and zoned for local services and some residential.

It has an expired planning for a showroom and 31 residential units, with double basement car park.

It is diagonally across the road junction from the Orchard Gardens apartment block, acquired for c €14 million in 2013 by the Comer Brothers as part of Ulster Bank’s Project Gemini sale.

Also with varied residential scope and zoning is the Good Shepherd Convent site on seven acres at Sunday’s Well.

It has expired planning permission for 274 residential units, in ten apartment blocks of varied heights, from three to eight storeys, and existing red-brick buildings — now gutted by fire — must be retained.


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