EIGHT years after construction on Ireland’s tallest apartment tower the Elysian finished up, and its fit-out began.
Elysian, Cork City
Rents: €1,100 to €3,000 per month
Size: 635 to 2,300 sq ft
Best Feature: Top of the world
It looks like all the lights will finally be on and indicating full occupancy, by the end of this year.
The old, wartime motto ‘home for Christmas’ might well apply after the economic, construction and housing turmoil that befell the country in 2008.
After a year-long market slowdown on the Irish housing front, things took a deeper dive globally on September 15, 2008, when Lehman Brothers bank collapsed.
Two days later, with worst-in-the world timing, yet still high hopes, the €150 million Elysian with feature 17-storey residential tower got a showy launch, in the company of sports stars, bishops, politicians aplenty, and buyers to woo.
In so many ways, the Elysian’s confident construction and delivery was a set-piece of the times that were in it, with sale prices from €375,000 to €2 million for the most extraordinary of its multi-level apartments.
Then, during the long lull, and scant sales (though a penthouse did make €1.8m, it’s understood) it still was a beacon indicating changed times, even if only with the most sporadic of occupancy: it had lights on, but there weren’t many people home.
Perhaps between 50 and 70 units, at best, had been occupied.
Now, it’s set for different ‘beacon’ status again, indicative of recovery, and shifts in the market, with rental demand at an all-time high, rents strong and employment climbing steadily once more.
“There will be completion of fit out of the Elysian by the end of the year,” forecasts estate agent Trish Stokes of Lisney, Cork, who have recently been charged with the task of letting the apartments as they get fitted out, to a receptive market.
There’s 211 apartments here in all on a prime three acre site next to Cork City Hall, ranged above a still quite spectacular one-acre raised garden with waterfalls, and above ground floor commercial space that includes an Aldi.
ACC/Rabobank are departing and other street level space is being re-oriented to the office sector following the arrival of One Albert Quay office block immediately adjacent, on the created street called Port Lane.
After a soft trial launch of just fitted-out new apartments for first lettings, which now sees 100 tenants in residence, Lisney now formally launch the first phase of the balance being brought to the open letting market, comprising a mix of one-, two- and three-bed apartments arranged in a quadrangle, overlooking the internal garden, and practically all in any case have a dual aspect.
The contract for the internal furnishing and finishing of the interiors went to Munster firm Caseys, with apartments having Calligaris and Natuzzi furniture, hardwood flooring in living areas and Poggenpohl kitchens, with pod-manufactured tiled bathrooms and en-suites.
Overseeing the back-to-business pace at the Elsyian is the O’Flynn Group, on contract for the building’s new owners Blackstone, after the two powerful firms reconciled their differences in 2015.
It’s expected the next/final 111 units will be rolled out, furnished, and let by December.
While initially built to be sold to owner-occupiers primarily, as well as investors, the design works well for any ownership model with high service levels/concierge, small number of apartments per floor/lift shaft, two parking levels, and wide mix of units sizes, from 650 sq ft one-beds to 2,300 sq ft penthouses.
Rents for the one-bedroomed units range vary in price from €1,100 to €1,200; two bedroomed units range from €1,350 to €1,600 per month; three bedroomed varieties go from €1,800 to €2,000 per month; with penthouses ranging from €2,500 to €3,000 per month, says Lisney’s Cian O’Donoghue.
“The profile of tenants is a mix of local and international single professionals working in the city, and young families who have chosen city centre living, and we will also shortly bring to market a select number of penthouses of 1,700 to 2,300 sq ft, affording unique views of the city,” says Trish Stokes.
It is welcome too “in view of the overwhelming demand for rental property given the lack of supply,” as well as mortgage restrictions, increased employment, and continued increase of FDI, adds Ms Stokes.
Two show units are open by appointment, and there’s a virtual tour on email@example.com
VERDICT: Roll on Christmas, and the virtual reality of all the lights on, and hundreds at an Elysian home.
* At 17 storey tall, the Elysian was never set to be Ireland’s tallest residential tower: higher buildings were planned, especially for Dublin, but never got build as the economy ‘went south’ post 2008.
* Developers were O’Flynn Construction, and it’s now owned by US-based Blackstone
* Design at the Elysian is by Wilson Architecture, and construction on the three acre site was by PJ Hegartys.
* Previously the site had been a postal sorting office and before that was a railway station.
* Apart from the 87-metre tower height (or, 91m including the multi-light beacon up top) the raised, one acre garden is the Elysian’s other stand-out feature. The architects based it on the width of Patrick Street, and the length from Patrick’s Bridge to Winthrop Street/BTs.
* Whereas it stood a tad forlorn for several years of slump, it has since been joined on the quays by the office block One Albert Quay, making for a thoroughly contemporary city precinct. Full occupancy now beckons.
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