Former D4 seminary sold to hotel group for about €16m
Cork’s Scally family group buys St Mary’s in Donnybrook for €6m above quoted price
The former St Mary’s Carmelite seminary on Bloomfield Avenue in Donnybrook, Dublin 4: selling agents WK Nowlan and GVA Donal O Buachalla had originally quoted €10 million-plus for the estate
One of Cork’s leading hotel groups is expected to develop its first Dublin hotel at the former St Mary’s Carmelite seminary on Bloomfield Avenue in Donnybrook, Dublin 4.
Joe and Margaret Scally of the Hayfield Manor Hotel in Cork have just completed the purchase of the former religious campus and 3.09 acres of gardens and woodlands bounded by Bloomfield Avenue, the Royal Hospital, the Bloomfield Park residential scheme and the Carmelite Retreat Centre.
Selling agents WK Nowlan and GVA Donal O Buachalla had originally quoted €10 million-plus for the well-located property, which attracted immediate interest from a new generation of housebuilders, but ended up with a top bid of close to €16 million.
Apart from the five-star Hayfield Manor Hotel, the Scally family also operate the Killarney Royal Hotel and the former Great Southern Hotel in Killarney. The group is expected to incorporate the Carmelite seminary and chapel in the new hotel development, which will built along classical lines.
A spokesperson said a range of options were being examined at present and it was not yet possible to confirm the number of bedrooms to be developed on site. “St Mary’s is a historical site and the family is very cognisant that the buildings are classified as protective structures.”
The monastery and college date from 1875 and were extended at various times up to the 1940s to cater for more than 40 seminarians. Vocations fell off dramatically in the last 30 years.
The period building extends to 3,251sq m (35,000sq ft), including a chapel on one wing. A feasibility study by John McLaughlin Architects advised interested parties of the potential for more than 10,500sq m (113,022sq ft) of developments on the site to include 90 apartments and 10 large houses. The report also suggested there was scope to convert St Mary’s building for residential or other uses.
Though most of the bidding for the property came from the strongly funded housing industry, it will be no surprise to many that the property is likely to end up in hotel use because of the shortage of hotel rooms in the city and the substantially higher room rates now available.