Bidding for Carmelite seminary in Donnybrook exceeds €16m

Bloomfield Avenue site owned by Carmelite order of interest to hotelier


An Irish hotelier has emerged as the leading contender to buy the former St Mary’s Carmelite seminary on Bloomfield Avenue in Donnybrook, Dublin 4. Bidding for the well-located redevelopment site has apparently exceeded €16 million, more than €6 million above the guide price.

Joint agents GVA Donal Ó Buachalla and WK Nowlan Property are expected shortly to report the sale of the well-located property which attracted a considerable number of bidders including Ballymore Properties, Cairn Homes and Rohan Holdings.

The monastery and college date from 1875 and were extended at various times up to the 1940s to cater for up to 50 seminarians. With vocations to the priesthood down dramatically over the past 20 years – the Carmelite order now has 34 members in Ireland – the seminary has become surplus to their requirements. The order is largely involved in running a retreat centre on the grounds.

The high level of interest in the 3.09-acre portfolio is hardly surprising given its mature location bounded not only by Bloomfield Avenue but also the Royal Hospital, Bloomfield Park residential scheme and the Carmelite retreat centre.

The seminary is not listed and extends to 3,251sq m (35,000sq ft) including a chapel on one wing.

If the complex is acquired by the hotelier, the expectation is that it will accommodate a 200-plus bedroom hotel as well as the usual public facilities. Housebuilders chasing the propety would expect to get permission for at least 100-120 homes.

Two adjoining housing schemes, Bloomfield Park and Edward Square, have been attracting top prices. Four five-bedroom houses in Edward Square sold last year for between €1,375,000 and€1,409,000, while a three-bed mid-terrace house in Bloomfield Park made €765,000 last May.