The long delayed plan to develop a luxury waterfront apartment scheme in Howth, Co Dublin, finally looks like proceeding following the appointment of Savills to handle the sale of the site in the coming weeks.
John Swarbrigg of Savills is seeking in excess of €25 million for the former Techcrete and Teeling Motors sites overlooking Howth Harbour which have the potential to accommodate up to 340 apartments. The combined site was assembled by developer Ray Grehan at the height of the boom in 2007 at a cost of €62 million.
The 6.61-acre sites have planning for two alternative developments – one for 229 apartments and 2,996sq m (32,246sq ft) of retail space, restaurants, a creche and leisure centre. The other option is for 127 apartments, 51 houses together with 2,756sq m (29,663sq ft) of retail and commercial facilities.
The first planning permission was recently extended until 2021 while the second permission is valid until 2023.
Joint receivers Michael McAteer and Paul McCann are also to make available a feasibility study which shows the potential to provide around 340 apartments on the same site in line with new planning guidelines specifically framed for apartment developments.
The Howth site is most likely to be bought by one of the newly launched housebuilding firms with considerable resources to allow them pitch for the best development opportunities.
Such firms will be well aware of the potential for high-value sales of new apartments and houses in a prosperous area such as Howth where there is bound to be any number of “empty nesters” interested in off-loading their high-value family homes and trading down to more manageable apartments now that their children have moved on.
The fact that the vast majority of the apartments and all the houses have either two or three bedrooms should also add to the appeal of the new scheme.
Newly launched plcs Glenveagh, Cairn and Marlet will almost certainly chase the Howth site but they might well have competition from Sean McKeon's MKN company which recently completed a stunning apartment development, Seascape, overlooking the coast in Clontarf.
Sean Mulryan's Ballymore company, currently on a high in both Dublin and London and building houses in Portmarnock, may also pitch for the Howth land.
The new development will benefit from its proximity to Howth railway station which handles regular Dart services to and from the city. In addition, Dublin Bus routes serve the village centre. Accessibility is further enhanced with the M1, M50 and Dublin Airport all located within a short drive.
The new homes are to be developed around 250m from Howth’s popular West Pier with its range of restaurants and cafes. This enclave is a hive of activity for much of the year but particularly at weekends during the summer months.
Swarbrigg, who is handling the sale, admits that as agents they can sometimes be “a little loose” when referring to particular properties as “prime”.
“However,” he says, “ in this instance it’s certainly not the case. This site really does represent a trophy opportunity and offers a purchaser a platform to deliver something truly special in what is one of Dublin’s most affluent suburban addresses.”