Take me to church: A Cork property to aspire to 

No penance buying Probation Services' Cork offices as an investment property
Take me to church: A Cork property to aspire to 
The former St Nicholas Church, Cove Street, Cork city due auction in a BidX1  sale July 30. It earns an annual  income of €200,000  from the OPW Probation Service and €9,500 from a Meteor mast. 

Churches are often associated with concepts such as penance, absolution, and forgiveness.

Now, a church in Cork city centre associated with implementing the aims and graces of justice and probation is up for grabs.

St Nicholas Church Cove Street Cork city is due for BidX1 auction sale July 30 2020
St Nicholas Church Cove Street Cork city is due for BidX1 auction sale July 30 2020

It earns an income of €200,000 pa from the OPW, who sourced it back in 2005 to accommodate the Department of Justice Equality’s Probation Service.

Quirkily too, the former ecclesiastical church earns a further €9,500 a year in income from a Meteor Mobile Communications phone mast on its limestone spire: that’s possibly an ignominious secular communications link on a spire designed to point to higher things, Mammon meeting with higher aims.

View of St. Nicholas Church, off Cove Street, Cork  in 1957
View of St. Nicholas Church, off Cove Street, Cork  in 1957

Understood now to be in the ownership of a fund, St Nicholas Church is due for auction disposal on July 30, part of a two-day series of sales of up to 200 lots with auction house BidX1.

Price-guided from €1.2m, it’s one of the more valuable lots to go under the virtual auction hammer at month’s end.

It stretches now to over 16,000 sq ft primarily of offices, with accommodation within on three levels, and with internal glazing screen separating rooms from the original arched gothic windows with feature stained glass panels, most notably in the transept.

Bid X1’s agent Gillian Earley comments that “St Nicholas Church presents a unique opportunity to acquire a landmark property that also boasts a strong income stream.”

St Nicholas Church is a low-key, architectural gem, among a ring of other very old churches, but was deconsecrated by the Church of Ireland in the early 1990s when it merged services with the even more exquisite St Fin Barre’s Cathedral. Also close are the 1760s Roman Catholic St Finbarr’s South Chapel, and the top tourist visitor attraction, the Nano Nagle complex.

Now, a purchaser, post its Bid X1 sale, will get a strong, blue-chip OPW-backed return guaranteed over a five-year period, and after that may have the option or other uses in a signature building, with parking, just a five-minute walk from the South Mall.

It’s in the Top Three value-wise of the 200 BidX1 July 28 and 30 auctions.

Also on offer at €1.5m is a building on Dublin’s Gardiner Street in Dublin 1, in 11 residential units, fully tenanted and earning €223,000 per annum. A Dublin 8 mixed-use building with five apartments and a retail unit has a guide of €1.2m, and is offered with vacant possession.

Back in Munster, a mixed-use investment at Granary Court in Midleton with eight apartments (four of which are tenanted) and two commercial units in shell and core condition has a guide of €775,000, at a net initial yield of 5.6% and current income of €47,568 pa.

And, in Co Limerick’s Abbeyfeale, BidX1 are guiding €600,000 for a portfolio of 11 apartments on the Killarney Road, generating €65,000 pa, showing a gross yield of 10.9%.

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