Good deal on the table

A Cork city building with a 40 year furniture sales history is for sale for more than €5.75 million as a development play.

Set on a 0.8 acre site on Washington Street, the sizeable property occupied for decades by Square Deal Interiors is described by agent James O’Donovan of Savills as “the latest prime development opportunity” in this city sector.

A red-brick portion of the centrally-set building and which occupies a substantial block is a protected structure and dates to 1880.

The overall ‘suite deal’ site has scope for mixed uses, including education, apartment/residential, and other elements.

Key to demand could be its proximity to UCC, with ‘Harvard-style’ lecture theatre uses mooted, and also adjacent are the Mercy Hospital complex, and the city’s main Courthouse is just a block or two away on the city side.

Other near neighbours include the River Lee Hotel, sold two years ago for €25 million, developed by O’Callaghan Properties, and the OCP apartment scheme Lancaster Gate is also adjacent, with a portion of that former/old Jurys Hotel site still undeveloped and ideal for Lancaster Gate ll.

The Square Deal building/block is being sold as the furniture company’s owners Patrick and Anna Herlihy are set to retire, and a closing down sale has been on-going in recent weeks.

The Herlihy family has also been associated with The Loft furniture store, running between Cornmarket Street /and North Main Street, and had a furniture wholesale business also.

The Square Deal property is a rectangular shape, with part two-storey ten-bay block, and strong street presence. Savills agents Peter O’Meara and James O’Donovan say it “has a unique, distinctive look and offers superb development potential.”

A number of new uses are permitted under a general City Centre Commercial Core Area (CCA) zoning, and it also falls within the recent Living City Tax Initiative.

That incentive permits relief for qualifying expenditure incurred on either residential or specific commercial refurbishment and/or conversion work.

Proximity to the proposed new Brewery Quarter event centre on the former Beamish & Crawford site may encourage hotel use, and the shortage of quality city residential stock may prompt new apartments or student accommodation.

Close-by the former Esso Muskerry filling station site is sale agreed recently via DTZ for €3.5 million, with planning for 50 units.

DTZ wouldn’t confirm the buyer’s identity, and although UCC made overtures, it’s understood to be a Dublin developer/investor who secured it, and it may go the apartments route.

Washington Street’s Square Deal site could accommodate a significantly larger number of units than that old Esso site’s 50 apartments, with the option for ground floor retail an added bonus, say the agents Savills.

Details: Savills, 021-4271371


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