Property company Oakmount, headed by development duo, Paddy McKillen jnr and Matt Ryan, has purchased the prominent Flanagan's of Mount Merrion site in south county Dublin. The deal completed this week, has overnight doubled Oakmount's footprint in the upmarket Dublin suburb and paves the way for the creation of at least 100 luxury apartments in an area that has seen little or no new apartment development in more than a decade.
The site on Deerpark Road adjoins the Union Café site where in April Oakmount received planning approval to build 50 apartments over four storeys on a site previously occupied by Kiely’s of Mount Merrion.
The neighbouring Flanagan’s furniture store on 0.84 of an acre was acquired in recent years by Chris and Niall Power Smith, who subsequently secured planning approval for 48 large apartments and 4,000sq ft of office space over two blocks, one of which will controversially rise to seven storeys.
The site was placed on the market with selling agent Lisney in November 2017, seeking €7.5 million. Oakmount did not confirm the final sum paid for the site, but it is believed to be in the region of €7 million.
In a statement released to The Irish Times, Oakmount indicated it plans to develop out the Flanagan's site in accordance with the current planning permission, though it added that the increased size of the site now makes it "eligible to apply for a new planning permission for the entire site for approximately 150 units under the new Strategic Housing and Development Act".
This initiative was introduced in 2016 under the Government's Rebuilding Ireland strategy to fast-track the planning application process and accelerate the delivery of large-scale housing schemes.
Documents filed to the Companies Registration Office on Wednesday by a company linked to Oakmount, Blue Whisp, show that it has given a charge over some interest in 66 Deerpark Road to Castlehaven Finance, a lender. That address is currently occupied by Deerpark Motors, on land adjoining the Flanagan's site. Oakmount told The Irish Times that the CRO documents solely referred to the Flanagan's site.
The combined Union Cafe and Flanagan's lands could make way for an intensive rollout of apartments, and will have substantially enhanced the value of Oakmount's stake in Mount Merrion. It may also increase the sites' attractiveness as a development play for the many real estate investment funds currently snapping up lands around the capital.
The site has been closely watched for a number of years by local residents. When Oakmount first applied to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for planning on the Union Café site two years ago, there were nearly 340 objections lodged against the plans, making it one of the most contentious planning approvals in recent years.
The Mount Merrion area is home to a number of sizeable properties on substantial sites, many of which are occupied by older residents. An upmarket apartment scheme of this scale is likely to have a ready market of downsizers within the area.
The Union Café plans comprise 11 one-bed apartments, 30 two-beds and nine three-beds, while the Flanagan’s plans allow for 10 one-bedroom units, 27 two-beds, and nine three-beds. There will also be two penthouses.