Value of O’Donnells’ Gorse Hill mansion hard to define

Home of 9,000 sq ft has outdoor pool and tennis court, with indoor gym and sauna

When Brian and Mary Pat O’Donnell sought bankruptcy in London in 2012 it was reported that Gorse Hill, above,  was valued at €30 million at the height of the boom, but the O’Donnells said in their statement of affairs it was now worth €6 million to €7million. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

When Brian and Mary Pat O’Donnell sought bankruptcy in London in 2012 it was reported that Gorse Hill, above, was valued at €30 million at the height of the boom, but the O’Donnells said in their statement of affairs it was now worth €6 million to €7million. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Gorse Hill sits on 1.25 acres of land on Vico Road in Killiney, one of the most expensive roads in Dublin on account of its striking sea views.

Many of the large houses, including Gorse Hill, stand on spacious grounds.

When the O’Donnells bought it at auction in 1997 they paid £1.055 million for what was a modest enough 1920s four-bedroom house with a double garage. However, it clearly had enormous potential for upgrading.

Eyebrows were raised at the price because they paid a full £400,000 over the estate agents’ pre-auction guide price and £145,000 above the price point at which the auctioneer declared it “on the market” and about to be sold, even if there were no further bids.

At the time the price fed into the controversy over the regular discrepancies between agents’ pre-auction guide prices and eventual sale prices.

Many buyers in the late 1990s and early 2000s believed agents were pitching guide prices in Dublin on the low side in order to attract potential bidders and drive up the price at the auction.

Planning laws

Initially, the O’Donnells’ efforts to transform Gorse Hill ran up against local planning laws. They were denied permission to demolish the original house on the basis of conservation of sea frontage properties along this stretch of Vico Road.

However, they secured the go-ahead for the 9,000 sq ft mansion that stands on the site today. It has an outdoor swimming pool and tennis court, along with an indoor gym and sauna.

When Brian and Mary Pat O’Donnell sought bankruptcy in London in 2012 it was reported the house was valued at €30 million at the height of the boom, but the O’Donnells said in their statement of affairs it was now worth €6 million to €7million.

Sorrento House

Its precise value at the height of the boom is difficult to say. Sorrento House on nearby Sorrento Terrace, widely considered to be one of Dublin’s most expensive homes, was valued at the time at €30 million.

Sorrento House is currently on the market with an asking price of €12 million.

Because Gorse Hill has not changed hands in the intervening period, little is known about the scale of spending on its interiors.