Top Mount Merrion site on the market for €23m

Mount Anville Road site of 18.4 acres set for 170 houses and apartments

One of the largest and best located housing sites to come on the market in south Dublin in recent years goes for sale from today at Mount Anville Road in Dublin 14.

Donal Kelleher of DTZ Sherry FitzGerald is quoting €23 million for 7.48 hectares (18.4 acres) known as Knockrabo in Mount Merrion which is expected to accommodate at least 170 houses and apartments.

The "consensual sale" of the land has been triggered by Nama on behalf of the philanthropist Niall Mellon who is known for his charity work in Africa. He is reported to have lost an estimated €150 million in the Irish property crash

There is every reason to expect intense bidding for the site among a new generation of housebuilders and those with a longer record because of the shortage of family homes and suitable sites for new houses in south Dublin.

About 5.2 acres of the landbank going for sale have been reserved for a future extension of the Eastern Bypass (Sandyford to St Helen’s). This leaves 13.3 acres of residentially zoned land with potential to accommodate at least 170 homes.

A masterplan prepared by O’Mahony Pike Architects on the 13.3 acres sets out a comprehensive design plan and pathway for these lands, protecting the existing trees and site views and providing for a high level of green space.

Planning permission was granted in January for a development of 47 houses and 41 apartments and the preservation of the existing Knockrabo gate lodge. The masterplan shows the phased delivery of a further 85 homes on the remaining lands including the preservation of Cedarmount House which was recently refurbished.

Mr Kelleher says the demand for new apartments and houses in this area is very strong with prices from €400 to €500 per sq ft being achieved on both new and second-hand properties.

Knockrabo is particularly well located opposite Mount Anville girls school with elevated city and sea views.

It is within easy walking distance of several primary and secondary schools as well as shops at Deerpark and Goatstown.

Development of the Knockrabo site was curtailed in recent years because of uncertainty about the exact road alignment for the extension of the Eastern Motorway.

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 subsequently used by the Ski Club of Ireland and later as the Bank of Ireland sports grounds. The then 24-acre estate was bought by Michael Roden's Merrion Property Group in 1999 for €30 million. He sold it to Mr Mellon for €50 million.

Around five acres of the Knockrabo lands were acquired in 2005 by O’Malley Construction who have now secured planning permission for a development there. O’Malley’s acquisition will be seen as a strong endorsement for Knockrabo because the former Galway firm has been noted, over the years, for settling on only the very best sites.