House of the Week: 3 Brookfield Villas, College Road, Cork

WHAT’s the collective noun for multiple medics? A delivery of doctors, or an outbreak of obstetricians? A coven of consultants? Can any location get closer to the action than bustling College Road itself?

Whatever the collective, it looks like a pandemic of professionals is on the way to Cork city and surrounds over the next decade or so — and that’s good news for those thinking of selling up well-located good quality family homes, or even for those with sites and aiming to construct new builds.

Currently, there’s a €75 million extension to the 1,000-job Bon Secours Hospital in Cork, adding new oncology and radiography services, as well as 81 new private rooms, on a city site between the Western Road and College Road.

And, just last week, the Government confirmed its support for a brand new acute hospital for Cork as part of its National Planing Framework strategy, designed to allow key target cities compete with the almost magnetic lure of the Dublin region for investment and population growth.

Locations west of the city and CUH, and accessible to the ring road/Ballincollig bypass are expected to be contenders, including Curraheen near the Marymount hospice and other sections of the current development area ‘green belt.’ At least 50 to 100 acres will be needed, according to sources.

Well, there aren’t too many spare acres around the city’s College Road, where No 3 Brookfield Villas, pictured here, comes to market this week with estate agent Trish Stokes of Lisney, modestly guiding €450,000.

What’s here and already in the hinterland is highly prized, and relatively highly priced, thanks to the presence of major hospitals/employers, the Wilton Shopping Centre for which €150m expansion plans have now been lodged, as well as at the ever-expanding UCC campus itself, plus the also-growing CIT campus just a bit further west.

Between the Bons expansion, and the proposed new acute hospital, many dozens if not hundreds of medics will be needed, plus a raft of well-paid medical support staffs, and all that is expected to be a driver of demand and of house prices in this city quadrant for years to come.

The better-off and longer-established medics and consultants especially can be expected to spend under and over the €1m mark for family homes, and tend to buy also close to third level colleges, and hospitals.

Add the Mercy hospital into the mix, and the fact of being on-call puts a tight enough radius around the medical hubs, and so housing demand is pretty much a one-way street: west fares best.

Seeing the bounce already is the Model Farm Road, where a number of upmarket schemes are attracting interest, including O’Flynn Construction’s Steeplewoods at prices up to an over €800,000, and 19 brick-finished homes on the old Nangles Nurseries site by Lugus Capital at Rosefield, where Kevin Barry Auctioneers have 12 sales agreed, at price of up to €775,000.

Also, Rockforest Homes have a site for seven big detacheds at a house called Vailima closer to the city, near the Dennehy’s Cross end of the Model Farm Road, and at Waterfall’s Earls Well a further delivery of contemporary-styled A rated builds is to launch very soon with Savills.

But, can any location get closer to the action than bustling College Road itself? 

Set to coin it for that very reason will be a proposed development of nine c 2,500 sq ft one-offs on top, chi-chi address Orchard Road, if long-seasoned developer Denis O’Brien has his way.

Previously a key partner in O’Brien and O’Flynn, and a canny investor, his company, Denis O’Brien Developments, last month sought planning permission for nine houses at San Paula on Orchard Road.

Locals may recall the various planning battles between Orchard Road residents and O’Brien & O’Flynn at the various stages of development of the Brookfield Student and Holiday Village and a handful of private houses the also built at The Grove, Orchard Road, in part of the former grounds of Brookfield House.

Now, it appears as if resident Catherine Neville of Orchard Road’s very largest home and site, the much-extended San Paula, has a done a development/sale deal with O’BO’F and her very private property, right next to the Brookfield complex. It will all, of course, be subject to planning permission. 

Objections may be expected. If successful, expect prices to go north of €1m a pop for these apple of the eye Orchard Road new-builds.

This is all a very roundabout introduction to the arrival of No 3 Brookfield Villas, Lisney’s new listing at €450k, which is a solid, 100-year old, red-brick semi-d, set directly opposite the Bon Secours and the Poor Clares convent.

It has just over 1,600 sq ft, and accommodation over three levels, with up to five bedrooms, with en-suite bedrooms to the front on each of the two two floors. 

It’s in good condition too, note Trish Stokes and Cian O’Donoghue of Lisney, with off-street parking and has a south facing back garden, plus two ground-level reception rooms, all within a walk of the city centre, UCC, the Bons and Hayfield Manor Hotel.

Several sales in the area (including a semi-d on St Clare’s Avenue) have topped €500,000, and strongest for some time was in 2010 when the exceptional Arts and Crafts era home 2 Carrigfern College Road, was sold by former history professor Joe Lee and family, now relocated from Cork to New York and the Glucksman Ireland House at NYU.

VERDICT: A bit of a College Road bon-bon, and could go the investor route, academic route, or, in medical terms, may ‘go private.’

College Road, Cork City


Size: 151 sq m (1,625 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 4/5

Bathrooms: 5


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