Blackrock bake-off: How much dough would you need to raise to live over this shop?

‘Time capsule’ of a former Co Dublin bakery to be auctioned this month with €375,000 AMV

The former bakery  on Blackrock’s Main Street

The former bakery on Blackrock’s Main Street

 

How much dough do you need to turn this living-over-the-shop project into a toasty little home?

That is the €375,000 AMV question, according to DNG, the agent selling by auction Bennett’s Bakery, a cute redbrick on Blackrock’s Main Street that is going under the hammer at its online auction on May 20th.  

Untouched for decades, the place looks like a film set, furnished by a pair of blackened ovens and a commercial-sized mixing bowl still in situ. (These are not included in the sale.)

The bakery, which was opened by Ellen Bennett in 1925, was famed for its brown bread, according to the late actor Frank Kelly, of Fr Jack fame in hit black comedy series Fr Ted, who recounted his childhood growing up in the village to this newspaper in 2000.

The bakery was well ahead of the gender equality curve in that it had a messenger girl rather than a messenger boy. It sold mince pies all year round, not just at Christmas, and other specialities were shortbread, jam tarts and madeira cake.

Ellen’s daughter Mary, known as Mary Pat, took over the business on her death in 1974, and closed its doors in 1987.

Mother and daughter both lived at the premises, which had its address changed by the council from 11 Newton Avenue to 59 Main Street. 

The interior is perfectly preserved like the fruit in a good tea brack. It includes the shop’s tongue-and-groove panelled counter and fold-back doors that lead through to the oven room, all painted a queasy shade of arsenic green that is back in fashion. 

Set above the large shop window is its pleasingly-symmetrical signage to which fan site Dublin Ghost Signs paid tribute a few years ago, while last week Instagrammer Romantic Irish Rescue described the property as a “time capsule” and “favourite listing of 2021”.

Set over three floors, two above the shop, the property extends to just 68sq m (732 sq ft), its fine staircase occupying a lot of its central volume. It has original doors and architraving and some original single-glazed sash windows with shutters. And , yes, with the yellow brick detailing on its exterior, above its arched upper floor windows, it does look beguiling.

Set over three floors, two above the shop, the property extends to just 68sq m (732sq ft)
Set over three floors, two above the shop, the property extends to just 68sq m (732sq ft)
The former oven room
The former oven room

There is a tiny southwest facing yard to the back, enough for bins but not much more.

But before you get too excited realise that there is no heating of any sort nor is there a screed of insulation. It needs rewiring, replumbing, new windows and a bathroom to make it habitable.

With a shortage of construction skills, and the cost of building materials rising as a result of Covid, getting the bread needed to turn this property into a residence will require jumping through all sorts of additional financial hoops.

Still interested? Use your loaf and have a builder view it and get costs in on the basic works required from at least three firms. Anything less than this level of pre-auction due diligence is half-baked.

“Reaction to the listing has been very strong,” says Anne-Marie McCabe of DNG, with 15,000 hits across its various platforms. “This is about five times the number of hits you’d have in a week” on a regular residential listing .

In-situ viewings return on May 10th, which gives you nine days to get your financials in order for a refurbishment recipe for success before online bidding opens on May 20th at 11am. See DNG.ie

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