New su­per-sized house planned for Wal­ford site in Balls­bridge

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - The Market -

A trust as­so­ci­ated with busi­ness­man Der­mot Des­mond has sought plan­ning per­mis­sion to de­mol­ish Wal­ford on Shrews­bury Road, the most ex­pen­sive house ever sold in the State.

Celtic Trustees, whose ben­e­fi­cia­ries are Des­mond’s four chil­dren, has am­bi­tions to de­mol­ish the 554 sq m (5,963 sq ft) house, which its con­sul­tants deem to be of “poor ar­chi­tec­tural qual­ity” in or­der to re­place it with a 1,595 sq m (17,168 sq ft) man­sion.

The de­sign of the pro­posed house is heav­ily in­flu­enced by the de­signs of Sir Ed­win Lu­tyens, tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from Tig­bourne Court in Sur­rey and Grey­walls in Scot­land.

Lu­tyens’ work is con­sid­ered to be amongst the finest ex­am­ples of arts and crafts ar­chi­tec­ture and neigh­bour De­nis O’Brien pre­vi­ously had am­bi­tions to re­place his home across the street, Belmont, with a pala­tial house in­spired by an­other Lu­tyens’ de­sign, but was de­nied plan­ning per­mis­sion.

Celtic Trustees’ chances of ob­tain­ing plan­ning per­mis­sion are markedly bet­ter. For years, neigh­bours have faced the dis­heart­en­ing prospect of the prop­erty be­ing turned into a hous­ing es­tate, whereas the cur­rent pro­posal will see the prop­erty utilised as a lav­ish sin­gle res­i­dence.

In spite of its gar­gan­tuan size, the new su­per-sized Wal­ford would be only marginally larger than other homes on the street, but smaller than ex-Aryzta chief Owen Kil­lian’s Shrews­bury House which is 1,951sq m (21,000sq ft).

If granted per­mis­sion, the new Wal­ford will con­tain four bed­rooms, each with up to two-en­suite bath­rooms and dress­ing rooms, a lift serv­ing all floors, wine cel­lar, gym and a large in­door swim­ming pool.

The 0.72 hectare (1.77 acre) site it­self, Wal­ford’s most valu­able fea­ture, will be trans­formed into what will likely be the most elab­o­rate pri­vate gar­den in Dublin city, to in­clude a for­mal gar­den area with or­na­men­tal pond.

The trust may well spend over ¤20 mil­lion in to­tal on the prop­erty by the time the pur­chase price of ¤14.25 mil­lion and build costs of the pro­posed house are taken into ac­count.

The plans mark an end to a 13 year saga, which be­gan in July 2005 when Wal­ford was sale agreed for a mind-blow­ing ¤58 mil­lion to a mys­tery buyer us­ing a trust named Mat­sack Nom­i­nees.

The iden­tity of the pur­chaser re­mained shrouded in se­crecy for years and spec­u­la­tion was rife that that de­vel­oper Seán Dunne was the mys­tery buyer be­hind the trust.

It was later claimed by news­pa­per colum­nist turned prop­erty de­vel­oper Gayle Killilea, who mar­ried Dunne in 2004, that own­er­ship of the house had been trans­ferred to her in 2005.

The prop­erty was later trans­ferred to a Cypriot com­pany, Yes­reb Hold­ings, be­fore be­ing sold to the Des­mond trust in De­cem­ber 2016.

GGI image of planned new res­i­dence on Wal­ford site on Shrews­bury Road. Elab­o­rate gar­den is also pro­posed

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