Mount Anville site makes over €25m

Builder Maplewood and US equity partner Broadhaven make third Dublin purchase

US equity partner Broadhaven has joined forces with the long-established Irish housebuilder

Maplewood Residential, to buy a site for at least 170 houses and apartments at Mount Anville Road in Dublin 14. The consortium paid in excess of €25 million for 7.48 hectares (18.4 acres) at Knockrabo, which is opposite Mount Anville girls’ school.

Maplewood, run by Michael Whelan snr and his son, also Michael, has been in business for more than 40 years and was heavily involved in Adamstown before the property crash. US funder Sankaty holds a majority stake in Broadhaven, where the other investors include the financier Dermot Desmond.

Knockrabo is the third site to have been bought by the Irish-US partnership. It has already sold 50 of the 69 homes being built at Sion Hill Park in Drumcondra and next month it plans to open show houses at Dodderbrook, in Ballycullen, where it has planning permission for 135 houses.

Donal Kelleher, of DTZ Sherry FitzGerald, said the Knockrabo sale attracted strong bidding from most of the big players in the market as well as some new faces.

Michael Whelan jnr said the partnership with Broadhaven was “delivering sites without paying over the odds for them”.

Philanthropist

The “consensual sale” of the Knockrabo land was prompted by

AIB

and Nama on behalf of the philanthropist

Niall Mellon

, who is well known for his charity work in Africa.

About 5.2 acres of the landbank has been reserved for a future extension of the Eastern Bypass (Sandyford to St Helen’s), leaving 13.3 acres acres of the residentially zoned land, with potential to accommodate at least 170 housing units.

Planning permission has already been granted for a development of 47 houses and 41 apartments. The master plan provides for the phased delivery of a further 85 housing units on the remaining lands, including the retention of Cedarmount House. Development of the site was curtailed in recent years because of uncertainty about the exact alignment for the extension of the Eastern Bypass.

The original Knockrabo House, long since demolished, formed part of a private estate before being used as a girls' school up to the 1950s. It was later used by the Ski Club of Ireland and then as the Bank of Ireland sports grounds.

The 24-acre holding was bought by Michael Roden's Merrion Property Group in 1999 for about €30 million. He later sold on the property to Mellon for €50 million. About five acres were sold in 2005 to O'Malley Construction, which is currently developing a range of high-quality homes there.