Chinese have their eye on Charles Haughey's €7.5m beloved Abbeville
A HOST of international investors including some from China have viewed former Taoiseach Charles Haughey's north Dublin mansion which went on sale for €7.5m last May.
Selling agents Savills said viewers from China, the US, UK and Ireland have all taken tours of the extensive property in recent months, and that a "number" of offers had been made.
But agent Pat O'Hagan said none had been accepted because they failed to meet the reserve price.
The property will probably be sold as corporate headquarters, he said, or perhaps redeveloped as a hotel or nursing home.
Abbeville was sold in 2004 to Manor Park Homebuilders for €45m but the company is in the process of being wound up and it is being sold on behalf of the receivers, Kavanagh Fennells.
Designed by James Gandon, who also completed the Custom House and Four Courts, the property dates from 1770 and its dining room is considered Gandon's "finest surviving domestic interior", according to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
Mr O'Hagan said the buyer would need deep pockets and a "good idea" of what they wanted to do with the house, which needs to be rewired and replumbed.
"We've had viewers from China, the US, the UK and Ireland," he said. "The main interest is from Ireland.
"There's a huge amount of business going on between Ireland and China and it's only now getting to the stage where the Chinese are looking over here. They come to Ireland and see the sea, green fields, and we're also the stepping stone to Europe and the US," he said.
Manor Park had planning permission to build a 70-bed hotel, spa/leisure centre, championship golf course and new homes but the planning permission has expired. In May, Fingal County Council refused to extend it for five years.
Abbeville is vying with a number of other period properties for sale around Dublin including the Lyons Estate in Newcastle, owned by Ryanair founder the late Tony Ryan, which has a €50m price tag; Palmerstown House on the Dublin/Kildare border, owned by Jim Mansfield, which is for sale for €12m and Mount Kennedy House in Newtownmountkennedy in Wicklow which has a €3.85m price tag.