'Club' Med Jez floats at €1.8m, set between two beaches on Cork's new Millionaire's Row

Tommy Barker reports on the sale of a brand-new, out of the box, 2,900 sq ft home, built in an ‘upside-down’ layout in Fountainstown; Pictures: Ted Murphy
'Club' Med Jez floats at €1.8m, set between two beaches on Cork's new Millionaire's Row

'Med Jez' Coast Road, Fountainstown, Co Cork, floated on the market for €1.8m via Savills, Cork

Coast Road, Fountainstown, Cork

€1.8 million

Size

270 sq m (2,895 sq ft)

Bedrooms

4

Bathrooms

4

BER

A1

Inching along up the price and value scale over the past two decades has been the Coast Road, between Fountainstown and Myrtleville in south Cork, just around the bend from the mouth of Cork harbour, and a spot where ocean watching is an all-consuming passion.

High-class views.
High-class views.

This high-up, sea-scanning spot, is now home to more than a handful of very high-end private family homes.

When older properties come for sale, they tend to get massively altered and upgraded, or just obliterated and replaced.

The moneyed trend of knock and rebuild started, of course, in Cork terms further west along the coastline in Kinsale harbour, where the Ardbrack strip from the town of Kinsale to Summercove became Munster’s top ‘Golden Mile,’ with homes often selling for €1m and more, over €3m in one or two cases, and some even made that ‘Big Note’ sum only to bite the dust, and get resurrected as modern day mansions and villas.

There are local rumours of a Kinsale home along this way maybe inching its way to the market this year with a price tag as high as €5 million.... “only in Kinsale,” is the usual refrain when properties get offered with this sort of aspirational price guide. 

Might Fountainstown’s Coast Road be the next Ardbrack?

Like being in the Med. 
Like being in the Med. 

There’s increasing evidence of a ‘little or no expense spared’ design and build pattern here in the past few years, since, say, the post-property crash recovery, as even a cursory walk (or, head-turning, distracting drive) along this mile or so of coast-hugging road readily indicates.

You see it is the electric gates, high walls and screens, and the glimpses of glass balusters, mono-pitch roofs, timber cladding and lots, and lots, of zinc and metal clad roofing.

There are even some attention-seeking recent builds at either end of the stretch, say above the diving pool at Poulgorm where a roadside home has cantilevers and metal-skinned wall sections in a striking diagonal pattern, and there are a few down also at the Fountainstown end that carry the ‘architect-designed’ street cred on their sleeves, overlooking the beach at Ringabella to the west, or Roches Point to the east.

Once you leave the few cul de sac clusters at this Fountainstown beach end which are home now to large houses on typically quite small sites, there’s only a handful of one-offs on sizeable sites on the sea 70ide of the Coast Road, and this new-to-market offer - Med Jez - is one of the exalted few.

Light 'n airy.
Light 'n airy.

But, it carries a price guide of €1.8 million, a property sale level as-yet unheard of anywhere along this stretch of shoreline or, indeed, on either side of the mouth of Cork harbour.

It’s very much a Kinsale sort of price: what hopes has it?

Med Jez, for sale with estate agent Michael O’Donovan of Savills Cork, is a brand-new, out of the box, A1 BER contemporary c 2,900 sq ft home, built in an ‘upside-down’ layout.

It was constructed on the site of an earlier dwelling called Med Jez El Bab (the name comes from a Second World War battle site in Tunisia where 2,00 Allied soldiers died) and which the Price Register shows as selling back by early 2016 for €550,000; it was then subsequently and summarily razed.

Its buyers (who have an adjacent, large property) then got planning for this build, to a design by UK-based architect Douglas McLeod, and  put up for sale as a site with full planning in 2018 carrying a €650,000 AMV via Savills.

Blank canvas.
Blank canvas.

However, the owners later decided to build to the design they’d got the planning for and to rent it out to the upper echelons of the corporate rental market where it might have been expected to let for up to or over €4,000 a month.

Builder was local man Brian Twomey, who did the highly energy-efficient rebuild in timber frame construction, with exterior  finish detailing specified by Cork architects Wain Morehead, all done injust about six months.

Then, when it was ready to be let out unfurnished, interest and indeed offers instead came from possible and putative purchasers more than renters, so the owners decided to test that interest by going to the open sale market.

Agent Michael O’Donovan of Savills won’t give any indication at all of just what level those offers might have come in and how close they might be to the current price target of €1.8 million.

Look what's around the bend. View includes Ringabella and Fountainstown beach
Look what's around the bend. View includes Ringabella and Fountainstown beach

But, he does observe that it’s the sort of property that’s got an appeal to the internationally mobile, who’ll rate it by a location of about a half an hour from Cork city and airport, as well as the setting and sights.

The ocean-scanning panorama takes in every sort of passing marine traffic, from yachts to trawlers, dinghies to tankers and cargo ships. The sunny afternoon the Irish Examiner visited, a navy patrol vessel was journeying home to its base in Haulbowline in the harbour, while kite surfers skimmed the waves by Fountainstown beach and the inlet by Ringabella.

Tankers and journeying cargo ships routinely anchor off-shore in full view from Med Jez, while they await loading/unloading turns in the harbour itself and, in fact, the Titanic anchored out here too on its fateful, maiden voyage visit to Cork over 100 years ago.

Inside, Med Jez has an extremely open plan upper floor of kitchen/living dining, plus 47’, full-width viewing deck reached via sliding triple glazed windows, and with an ultra-low pitch standing seam roof.

Window of opportunity awaits the new buyer.
Window of opportunity awaits the new buyer.

Below are four bedrooms (two of them with en suites and walk-in robes/dressing rooms, one at either side) plus main bathroom, and utility/plant/boiler room.

Curiously, there’s no external access to the grounds from this lower level at any point, with all four bedrooms only single aspect, with central square windows where large sliders might have been expected.

In fact, there’s only one internal/external access point in the whole house, with the sole entry point designed to showcase ‘the Big Reveal’ of the view from within, from the oversize main living/dining/kitchen area.

The only other rooms at this level are a study and a guest WC; then there’s a standard fitted kitchen, with AEG appliances and budget-looking worktops, and sockets too appear to be standard fare, as are bathrooms and sanitary ware.

There’s a bit more gone into ‘into the bones,’ with CAT 6 cabling, underfloor heating (air to water source) and heat recovery, plus alarm and CCTV.

Look at that space.
Look at that space.

Some of the external finishes appear more high-calibre, such as the zinc rainwater goods, limestone steps and paving, external lighting and wood-clad rear and side walls, in narrow-strip band-sawn  larch, with the low-slung zinc  standing seam roof virtually out of sight at garden level, behind a ringing parapet.

It’s on a sloping, now tiered site of 0.8 of an acre, visible below the Coast Rod only if you approach the low, rounded and rendered boundary wall and super-solid timber sliding access gate.

It then has its approach drive snaking down to a compact turning/parking apron to the west, and with very steep access possible down to the shoreline which some future owners may wish to work on to improve if they get into the cult of open sea swimming, or else they’ve the option of beaches within walk, either side, at Myrtleville or Fountainstown.

Surfers Kevin Healy, Minane Bridge and Kevin O'Connell, Carrigaline get set to hit the waves during Storm Dennis at Fountainstown, Co Cork in February 2020. Pic; Larry Cummins
Surfers Kevin Healy, Minane Bridge and Kevin O'Connell, Carrigaline get set to hit the waves during Storm Dennis at Fountainstown, Co Cork in February 2020. Pic; Larry Cummins

VERDICT: The pandemic times’ push for live/work home options in special, uncrowded settings may well work in Med Jez’s favour and among some price-insensitive home hunters.

But, whatever about the ‘Room with a View’ getting close to its lofty €1.8m guide, what are the chances some future owners will want to open up some or all of those locked-down four lower level bedrooms to the grounds, and the wider sea vista they are buying into?

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