China girl sews up sale near Singers Corner

An un-named Chinese investor has stitched up a deal on Fitzgerald House, an 11,600 sq ft property facing Cork city’s English Market and adjacent to the dramatically just-painted up Singers Corner, where - coincidentally - a commissioned mural by artist Johnny Bugler depicts a floral Chinese pattern, as seen on old Singer sewing machines.

Fitzgerald House was bought for 30% over its guide, making €1.225 million, well above the €900,000 asking price via agents Downing Commercial, jointly with JLL, after five parties attended a private auction in recent days.

The sale was given added impetus by the imminent scrapping at year’s end of the CGT exemption for investments held for seven years and which has driven an end-of year surge in sales, including pending DTZ bank investment sales in Tralee, Waterford and Kinsale, as well as land sales such as Cork’s Cleve Hill, now understood to be making well over €3m in continuing discussions.

Safely over the line though to its Chinese buyer is Grand Parade’s Fitzgerald House, according to agent John Downing, who this week declined to identify the buyer: key attractions were the rental income of €99,300 per year, along with the fact it’s only about 50% occupied, so there’s considerable rental uplift potential.

Sources say the deal at private auction was inked by a Chinese woman buyer, after bidding was made on her behalf. Chinese buyers have been prominent in the past 24 months at auctions in Dublin primarily, while in Cork the Kang family were behind the multi-million euro swoops on hotels such as Fota Island Resort, and the Kingsley Hotel, with over €30m alone invested in that hotel duo.

The four-storey building on Grand Parade has a high profile, facing the 0.63 acre Capitol Cinema site now up for sale via Savills guiding €6m , and is also opposite two entrances to the famed English Market (see Market story p20).

Main tenants are at ground level, Foot Solutions paying €27,000 pa, and electronics/entertainment exchange retailer CEX Ltd, paying €40,000 pa. First floor space has been recently taken by Shandon Travel, since July 2014, at €15,900 pa.

The Grand Parade building, occupied for decades by family-owned Fitzgerald Electrical, is next to the Bishop Lucey Public park, immediately to the south, and alongside is the bar/restaurant complex SoHo, stretching back towards the Triskel/Christchurch arts and performance complex.

Details: Downing Commercial 021-4271000, JLL 01-6731600


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