Bartra spending spree moves to home delivery

Property firm’s sites about to bear new homes fruit in Stoneybatter, Santry and Blackrock


It has been over a year since Bartra Capital Property was officially launched. Founded by veteran developer Richard Barrett, the company announced plans to invest €1.2 billion in infrastructural investment opportunities, including housing. Since then, it has been linked primarily to a handful of sites in expensive south Dublin locations, but this is set to change. Bartra and its team of 24 professionals has been quietly amassing sites across Dublin for a range of developments and has started building.

Among these is a 0.17 acre residential development site at Blackhall Place in Stoneybatter, Dublin 7. Bartra will soon seek planning permission for a 23-unit apartment development, following pre-planning discussions with Dublin City Council. The site is centrally located, close to Stoneybatter’s shops and restaurants and about five minutes from both the Smithfield Luas and DIT’s new Grangegorman campus. The previous owner had sought to develop the city centre site since 2006 and obtained planning for a large mixed-use scheme but never proceeded with construction.

In Santry, Bartra has acquired a 4.5 acre site on the Old Ballymun Road and is in the process of designing a high-density residential scheme for the site. The company will lodge a planning application later this year, availing of the newly introduced fast-track planning process, which enables developers to bypass local authorities and take their case directly to An Bord Pleanála for schemes with more than 100 homes.

Metro North

Bartra’s development is banking on Metro North, which is expected to begin construction after 2021, given its location directly at the doorstep of the proposed Northwood station. The site, near Dublin Airport and DCU, already enjoys good transport links. Bartra’s plans may include some build-to-rent apartments, a concept that will become increasingly prevalent in Dublin as institutional landlords continue to ramp up their presence.

The Santry site has been earmarked for development since 2003, with planning previously granted for a substantial mixed-use development, including well over 100 apartments. Many surrounding sites were granted similar permissions, but plans were abandoned in light of the property market’s collapse. Recently the area has experienced a resurgence of activity and is becoming something of a development hot spot, with two other major developers having obtained planning permission for residential developments, one of which has already begun.

Last month Bartra broke ground on its first development site. At Glenart Avenue in Blackrock, it has begun constructing four large detached family homes ranging in size from 279sq m (3,000sq ft) to 299sq m (3,220sq ft). The largest home, Number 24, has a substantial garden. Bartra paid €3.25 million for the 0.58 acre site this year, and the new homes are expected to be completed by autumn next year. Glenart Avenue is a sought-after Blackrock address, which backs on to exclusive Avoca Avenue. Currently there is just one house for sale on the quiet street – another luxury new-build – priced at €2.6 million.

In Donnybrook, Bartra is on site building four detached mews houses at 32 Morehampton Lane, a property bought for €3.2 million this year from the family of the late businesswoman Gillian Bowler. The company had been in negotiations to acquire the site for some time once Ms Bowler had successfully obtained planning permission for the de Blacam and Meagher-designed residences.

Autumn 2018

Three of the houses will be four beds with 247sq m (2,665sq ft) of space, while the fourth will extend to 183sq m (1,975sq ft). Each will feature southwesterly facing rear gardens, with parking for two cars to the front. The anticipated delivery date for the new houses is autumn 2018, with Sherry FitzGerald handling the sales. A development by another developer of four mews houses right next door is almost complete, with each house reportedly commanding €2 million-plus.

Bartra has a number of other luxury developments in the pipeline in south Dublin. At 98 Merrion Road, it intends to replace Cedar Lodge B&B with a new apartment scheme. Last year the company lodged plans for a development on the €5.7 million site but swiftly withdrew the application to reconsider the design, and a fresh application will be lodged this month.

At Bulloch Harbour in Dalkey, Bartra faced a local backlash when it submitted an application for a residential development on the former Western Marine site last year, leading to the company’s first and only planning refusal to date. A design team is in the process of preparing a new application for this site.

Close to the under-construction scheme at Glenart Avenue in Blackrock, Bartra’s 2.32 acre Glensavage site on neighbouring Avoca Road is still in the planning process. In recent weeks the council has requested further information from Bartra regarding the proposed development, which the company will respond to in the coming weeks.

Financial backing

If granted in its current form, the development would comprise 22 units, including eight detached houses and 14 apartments. The site appeared in the property price register as having transacted for €3 million, however the true price paid for the overall site is understood to have been closer to €4.5 million.

Its sites at Merrion Road, Glenart Avenue, Morehampton Lane and Glensavage have all received financial backing from Activate Capital, the €500 million development fund. All four sites were acquired in off-market transactions as part of Bartra’s ongoing acquisition spree, spearheaded by Grainne Hollywood, director of construction and development. Hollywood has indicated Bartra plans to continue growing its stock of development sites for the foreseeable future. Watch this space.

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