Who bought and sold

The Irish Times - - Residential Property -

DUBLIN

When Ire­land’s most talked-about res­i­den­tial prop­erty, Gorse Hill, came to the mar­ket in March seek­ing ¤8.5 mil­lion, it came as some­thing of a sur­prise when it sold within just four months well above its ask­ing price for ¤9.5 mil­lion, mak­ing it the top sale in Dublin this year. The for­mer tro­phy home of so­lic­i­tor Brian O’Don­nell and his wife, Mary Pat, was sold by re­ceiver De­loitte act­ing on be­half of Bank of Ire­land fol­low­ing a pro­tracted bat­tle be­tween the bank and the O’Don­nells after the fam­ily amassed debts of ¤71 mil­lion.

The ul­ti­mate buyer re­mains a mys­tery – though prob­a­bly not for much longer – re­tain­ing anonymity be­hind an in­vest­ment ve­hi­cle which sealed the deal.

Not long into the spring selling sea­son, news broke one of the last re­main­ing prime prop­er­ties on Dublin’s ex­clu­sive Shrews­bury Road had been pur­chased for ¤8.45 mil­lion by Ir­ish pack­ag­ing mil­lion­aire Pa­trick Do­ran. Num­ber 11, Fin­tragh, a 530sq m (5,700sq ft) prop­erty on a 0.7-acre site, had been owned by the As­saf fam­ily since 1987. They sold to Do­ran through Knight Frank, after he was the un­der­bid­der for bank­rupt de­vel­oper Seán Dunne’s for­mer Shrews­bury Road home, Wal­ford, for ¤12 mil­lion.

The clos­est to a rock ’n’ roll sale this year was when con­cert pro­moter Peter Aiken of Aiken Pro­mo­tions bought Danes Hol­low, the north Dublin coastal home of River­dance cre­ators Moya Do­herty and John McColgan for ¤8.2 mil­lion. The beau­ti­fully sit­u­ated 9,000sq ft Howth prop­erty on 3.35 acres came to mar­ket through Ganly Walters in April 2016 seek­ing ¤9.5 mil­lion. The Aikens’ Park Av­enue home in Sandy­mount is on the mar­ket seek­ing ¤3.8 mil­lion.

In late sum­mer one of Dalkey’s most strik­ing – and pricey – pri­vate homes, Inish­cor­rig, sold for just shy of ¤8 mil­lion. The sale, through Sherry FitzGer­ald (via Christies In­ter­na­tional) and Thom Burke Kennedy, ended a two-year wait after the Gothic ex­trav­a­ganza – de­scribed ini­tially as Dublin’s “most ex­pen­sive home” – came to mar­ket in Au­gust 2015 seek­ing ¤10.5 mil­lion. The sale has still not ap­peared on the Prop­erty Price Reg­is­ter, and the buyer’s iden­tity is undis­closed.

In June avi­a­tion mogul Dómh­nal Slat­tery emerged as the buyer of the for­mer Shrews­bury Road home of bank­rupt de­vel­oper Sean Dunne and wife Gayle Killilea for ¤5.6 mil­lion. Sold by Col­liers, Ouragh at 20A Shrews­bury Road is a mod­ern six-bed that went on the mar­ket through re­ceivers in 2015 seek­ing ¤7 mil­lion. Dunne had bought the site in 1999 for £3 mil­lion from Niall O’Far­rell, founder of the Black Tie chain, and poured sev­eral mil­lion euro more into a lav­ish re­furb. Slat­tery plans to de­mol­ish the home’s rear façade and make other changes to trans­form the house.

Two fur­ther no­table sales that fea­tured high on the Prop­erty Price Reg­is­ter this year ap­pear to be in­ter-fam­ily or trust-re­lated sales, ie they were never placed on the open mar­ket. The Her­mitage on Black­rock’s Cross Av­enue reg­is­tered as sold for ¤7.6mil­lion. One of the road’s finest homes on 1.5 acres it has been the home of James Shee­han founder of the Black­rock and Her­mitage pri­vate med­i­cal clin­ics since 1978. The trans­ac­tion re­lates to a trans­fer of own­er­ship of the main house to his son. An­other sale was recorded at 40 El­gin Road in Balls­bridge for ¤5.75 mil­lion, a lav­ishly re­fur­bished town­house that never made it to the open mar­ket.

COUN­TRY

Stud farms were the big movers in 2017, with sev­eral eques­trian fa­cil­i­ties selling for multi-mil­lion euro sums. The big­gest was Bal­ly­ma­coll Stud – birth­place of the great Arkle – when it sold at auc­tion through Willy Coonan and Knight Frank in June for ¤8.15 mil­lion. It was bought in trust by a so­lic­i­tor, but it soon emerged the buyer of the 300-acre prop­erty was Frank Dunne of the Dunnes Stores re­tail em­pire, whose Ham­wood stud farm ad­joins Bal­ly­ma­coll’s lands on the Dun­boyne side.

The un­suc­cess­ful un­der­bid­der on that day was bil­lion­aire de­vel­oper Luke Comer, who has steadily been buy­ing up suit­able equine hold­ings, in­clud­ing Ballinte­skin in En­niskerry, on 118 acres, which Willy Coonan re­cently sold at auc­tion for ¤2.53 mil­lion.

Comer is also be­lieved to have paid in the re­gion of ¤3.1 mil­lion for Tull­yard, on 189 acres in Trim, Co Meath, which came on the mar­ket through Sherry FitzGer­ald in 2015 seek­ing ¤3.75 mil­lion.

Jan­uary kicked off with a bang when his­toric West­port House in Co Mayo sold for an undis­closed sum to suc­cess­ful local brothers Cathal, Harry and Owen Hughes, own­ers of Ho­tel West­port and the Portwest outerwear firm.

The es­tate, on 455 acres, had gone on the mar­ket seek­ing ¤10 mil­lion the pre­vi­ous spring through Ganly Walters after the Browne fam­ily, who had lived there since the early 1960s, could no longer main­tain the prop­erty.

The sale has yet to ap­pear on the Prop­erty Price Reg­is­ter hav­ing only closed in Oc­to­ber, but it’s be­lieved the Hughes’s paid in the re­gion of ¤5.5 mil­lion for the house and the lands in a com­plex trans­ac­tion.

Mayo Co Coun­cil who fa­cil­i­tated the trans­ac­tion also ac­quired much needed land for hous­ing on 40 acres.

The Hughes fam­ily has pledged a fur­ther ¤50 mil­lion will be in­vested on the es­tate.

In April Lan­den­stown Es­tate near Sallins, Co Kil­dare was the ob­ject of a bid­ding war be­tween Gay O’Cal­laghan of Yeo­manstown Stud and Cool­more Stud.

Yeo­manstown fi­nally won out when it paid an es­ti­mated ¤4.6 mil­lion for the 338-acre es­tate with a di­lap­i­dated Pal­la­dian coun­try house at its heart. Sherry FitzGer­ald had placed Lan­den­stown on the mar­ket in Septem­ber seek­ing ¤6.5 mil­lion.

Still in Kil­dare, Straf­fan Lodge, a fine coun­try home on 34 acres and the child­hood home of the artist Fran­cis Ba­con, popped up on the Prop­erty Price Reg­is­ter in re­cent weeks. It’s be­lieved the en­tire sold through Paddy Jor­dan for around ¤3.4 mil­lion. The buyer was undis­closed.

An­other Kil­dare sale in late Oc­to­ber was that of Loughtown Stud, on 171 acres close to Bal­ly­ma­coll Stud.

Guid­ing ¤4.5 mil­lion, it was with­drawn at ¤3 mil­lion and later sold through Coonan at a price in the re­gion of ¤3.2 mil­lion. The buyer is breeder Paddy Burns.

Aside from this late rally of eques­trian land sales, it was a quiet year for tro­phy coun­try es­tates, sug­gest­ing that by now most of these have ei­ther been ac­quired or, if not, may be over­priced in the cur­rent mar­ket.

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