Icon chairman and former chief executive Ciarán Murray has emerged as the buyer of a property on Shrewsbury Road for €8.1 million, in the top residential property sale of the year. Clonmore, the 528sq m former home of developer Paddy Kelly, was placed on the market by the receiver in September and went sale agreed in late October.
Murray, who was last week honoured with the RDS Gold Medal for Industry, may consider himself to have snapped up something of a bargain given that the six-bed had originally been listed with Lisney selling agent David Bewley seeking €10 million (not to mention the €30 million-plus sum Kelly had quietly sought for Clonmore in 2009). In good condition and sitting on 0.7 of an acre with a floodlit tennis court, until recently the property was rented by the Chinese ambassador to Ireland as his private residence.
Murray stepped down as chief executive from the Nasdaq-listed Icon in March last year, he retains the role of chairman. At the time his annual remuneration package with the clinical trials firm was valued at €6.2 million. On becoming non-executive chairman in May, Murray became free to realise substantial share options with Icon, no doubt adding significantly to his funding war chest.
Clonmore was the first detached home built on Shrewsbury Road in more than a century when Kelly commissioned Horan Cotter and Associates to design it in 1992. In 1987 he had bought number 15, Clancool, on about 1½ acres, for less than €600,000. Six years later he sold that house for €860,000, this time on half the grounds, retaining the rest to build Clonmore.
What Murray now plans to do with Clonmore is anyone’s guess. It’s possible he will take his cue from some of the other high-profile residents on the road who have lately been outdoing each other in the renovation stakes, with newly-acquired properties routinely being doubled and tripled in size. Of the 30 properties on the road, considered to be the most prestigious address in the State, more than half have sold since the economic downturn.
Shrewsbury House, the site of the old Belgian embassy, owned by former Aryzta chief Owen Killian, has had nearly €20 million spent on its renovation, including a two-storey basement with swimming pool.
Walford is probably the best-known property on the road, for which Gayle Killilea paid €58 million at the height of the boom. It sold in 2016 for a greatly reduced €14 million to a Dermot Desmond trust and plans have been approved for a 17,000sq ft replacement on the site.
Other properties on the road, including those owned by businessman Denis O'Brien, Ardagh chief Paul Coulson and CapVest's Seamus Fitzpatrick, have undergone significant refurbishments.
Kelly departed Shrewsbury Road for a property in Donnybrook in 2009 following the property crash.