Celtic Tiger apartment now on the market for €875k
Hollybrook was Ireland's most expensive apartment scheme.
Published 13/11/2015 | 02:30
In 2002 Sean Dunne was a golden boy of the Celtic Tiger, fast building a reputation as a developer with ambitions of grandeur.
It was the year he met his wife Gayle at the Galway Races where he was also being courted by Fianna Fail in the party's famous hospitality tent - Dunne was a big FF donor (in 1997 he was the biggest) and also closely linked to then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
This was also the year in which Dunne launched Ireland's most expensive apartment scheme ever - the Hollybrook development at Brighton Road in Foxrock. It goes without saying he paid a record price for the site - €10.5m for three acres.
With luxury apartments larger than most houses, a full-time concierge, its own gym and sauna complex and theatrical Doric columns in the reception rooms, they were priced up to €2.5m. It was reported that five sold in the first hour, including two three-bed examples - for €2.15m and €1.9m.
The scheme caught the headlines of the day and springboarded Dunne to far bigger things. Three years later, his ambitions would reach unsustainable levels when he paid a record €379m for the Jury's and Berkeley Court site in Ballsbridge and lodged an application for a 32 storey skyscraper - twice the height of Ireland's tallest building. The deal gave him the moniker 'The Baron of Ballsbridge'.
'Baroness' Gayle would repeat his record bidding in the residential market when she bought Walford in Shrewsbury Road that year for €58m, still the highest ever paid for an Irish home. Hollybrook had more headlines in the dying embers of the Celtic Tiger in 2007 when Dunne donated one of the larger apartments (worth €3m) to the Niall Mellon trust.
Today, the Dunne empire has collapsed, leaving debt of more than a half a billion. The Baron and Baroness left for the USA in order to declare bankruptcy and save what they could of their resources, now very much under the control of Gayle.
In the interim years, Hollybrook has held up well, with the only change being the loss of the communal Jacuzzi (it appears to have been covered over) and of course the plummet in values brought by the crash. Few have come to market in the recovery, with the last flurry of activity being in 2012 when a slew of them were offloaded by Nama at prices in the €500,000s. But now the market has turned.
Number 2 was brought to market for an over ambitious tag of €950,000, although recently amended to €875,000. It's interiors show the sort of space that had buyers coming from abroad to queue 13 years ago. This is a 1,700 sq ft two-bedroom garden level apartment, which would put it somewhere in the mid range among the other 41.
Architect Arthur Hickey of CCH designed the block to look like an Edwardian country house with a lavish water feature in front, box hedge and tree planting.
The quality quoins and stonework means this homage still works reasonably well. There's an entrance hall, a very large bay windowed living room, a dining area, a fitted kitchen, a cloakroom with downstairs loo off the hall, and two double bedrooms,.
The master chamber comes with an ensuite bathroom and a walk-in wardrobe/dressing room. The fitted kitchens in the scheme were by Design House Dalkey with fireplaces by Belle Cheminee.
Other features which attracted the original buyers include every room wired for a central sound system and two car-parking spots were sold for each apartment. The property is near Foxrock Village and the Golf Club. You could argue for value given that most of the homes here still have a long way to go before hitting their 2002 launch prices.
Brighton Road, Foxrock, Dublin 18
Asking price: €875,000
Agent: Hooke & MacDonald (01) 6318402