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Thursday 23 March 2017

The Elysian: a 'beacon of light' that is yet to shine

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

IT was marketed as "a beacon of light overlooking a city striding with confidence into the 21st century".

But as the many darkened windows in the 17-storey tower testify, Ireland's tallest structure is currently enjoying a less-than-glittering life.

The Elysian Tower in many ways symbolised the entire spirit of the Celtic Tiger era -- it was a big, no-expense-spared high-rise development set on a three-acre site that owed more to New York and Manhattan than Cork's tight streets.

In a city of two-up-and-two-down houses, the Elysian offered €2m triplex penthouses that offered panoramic views for a distance of 10km.

"We believe this project ranks alongside the very finest developments of its type even in London, Paris or anywhere else in the world," developer Michael O'Flynn declared on September 17, 2008, when the Elysian's lavish launch party was staged.

As he spoke, he was watched by rugby star Ronan O'Gara as well as ministers Micheal Martin and Batt O'Keeffe.

But the launch timing was little short of disastrous. The giant complex and its 211 units came on the market just as the Irish property market was staring into the abyss in the autumn of 2008.

And with the property market still at a standstill, the building is still largely empty more than two years on. Oddly, Mr O'Flynn has refused to slash the prices.

He insisted at the time that its prices -- which ranged from €375,000 for a one-bedroom apartment right up to €2m for the penthouses -- reflected the market realities.

He emphatically signalled that there would be no price cuts or discounted selling.

Today, that remains the case, despite other developers who have slashed prices in a desperate bid to shift units.

At night, a significant number of its windows remain dark -- raising obvious questions over just how many people actually reside in the complex.

Mr O'Flynn has handed marketing of the Elysian to agents Sherry Fitzgerald.

In March 2009, one UK newspaper estimated that just 29 of the Elysian's 211 residential units had either been purchased outright or reserved by deposit.

Trish Stokes of Sherry Fitzgerald told the Irish Independent that the situation has not substantially changed.

"But this has to be viewed in the context of an Irish property market that is currently at standstill," she said.

Irish Independent

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