Monday 25 September 2017

Nuns get €13m after ignoring parents and selling school land for housing

Our Lady’s Grove Primary School at Goatstown Road in south Dublin. Photo: Doug O’Connor
Our Lady’s Grove Primary School at Goatstown Road in south Dublin. Photo: Doug O’Connor
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

An order of nuns has sold school lands for €3m more than the €10m guide price in the face of parents' objections.

The Religious Sisters of Jesus and Mary is understood to have secured in the region of €13m from the sale of a 5.4-acre site beside Our Lady's Grove Primary School at Goatstown Road, south Dublin.

The price being paid by leading house builder Durkan is a significant premium on the €10m sought by WK Nowlan Real Estate Advisors when it brought the property to the market in March. Located next to UCD in a sought-after suburb, the site could accommodate between 70 and 80 houses and apartments.

Parents of children attending Our Lady's Grove and Jesus and Mary College had objected to the sale, arguing that the schools would be left with no green space or room to expand.

The 5.4-acre site next to the school which sold for €13m. Photo: Doug O’Connor
The 5.4-acre site next to the school which sold for €13m. Photo: Doug O’Connor

But the nuns defended their decision to sell, saying it was necessary to support the congregation's other ministries, including overseas missions and care of sisters.

In acquiring the lands, Durkan will be obliged to deliver an astro-turf pitch for Jesus and Mary College, which the nuns have given a commitment to fund at a cost of €600,000.

The sale also includes a 0.41-acre site under a long lease with a restrictive covenant precluding any non-childcare uses.

The board of management at Our Lady's Grove had written to parents prior to the site's sale saying it "could not offer" the nuns unconditional support for a planning application for it.

In a statement the order confirmed contracts had been signed for the sale. It also said: "Engagement with all stakeholders on site was initiated and meetings held. Fair and equitable agreement was sought from all stakeholders to positively progress a planning application for the lands."

It said meetings would be arranged between the purchaser and stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the first round of bidding on the 8.64 acres of land being sold by RTÉ at its Donnybrook campus has seen the €75m guide price set by Savills eclipsed already.

The Irish Independent understands, however, that just one of the five parties competing for the Project Montrose portfolio has so far offered to pay in excess of €80m for the lands.

Chartered Land chief Joe O'Reilly, Cork developer Michael O'Flynn, Richard Barrett's Bartra Capital, Cairn Homes and developers Bridgedale are all in the running.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News