Custom House Square
Chesterbridge Developments hit the jackpot with Custom House Square, a residential and retail development which, in its first two phases, had much sought after tax incentives. The company had little competition when it bought the rundown Sheriff Street site for £4.3 million in 1996. It then developed the city's largest apartment scheme, which is reputed to have been the most profitable of all residential developments in the area.
The company is controlled by property developer Mick Whelan, solicitor Paul Hanby and Paul Newman, head of Douglas Newman Good. It released the first apartments and retail units in October 1998. There will be 620 apartments when the third phase is completed in December 2001. Given the purchase price of the site, this will work out at a site value of just over £7,000 per apartment. The open market value of apartment sites in the city stands at around £70,000 to £80,000. Located between the Custom House and the Point Depot, Custom House Square also has 12 retail units comprising 17,500 sq ft, 11 of which have been sold for between £10 and £12 million. Two more units and a pub in the final phase will bring total retail space to 30,000 sq ft. In the most recent release of 47 apartments in November, prices ranged from £185,000 to £330,000 for one, two and three-beds. They represented one of the last opportunities to buy a Section 23 apartment in the inner city. Next year, 20 Section 23 tax relief penthouse apartments will be released, but the third phase will not have tax designation.