Thursday 19 October 2017

Inside the duplex for sale in Ireland's most expensive complex built by developer Sean Dunne

Rich Pickings in Foxrock

The interconnecting living room/dining room; inset Sean Dunne and his wife Gayle
The interconnecting living room/dining room; inset Sean Dunne and his wife Gayle
The interconnecting living room/dining room
The exterior of the complex
The master bedroom has enough space to accommodate a suite of furniture
Residents have access to Hollybrook's gym
A reception room
Sean Dunne with his wife Gayle
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

It was a big year for spendthrift developer Sean Dunne when he launched Ireland's most expensive and exclusive apartment scheme to date in 2002 - Hollybrook at Brighton Road in Foxrock - after shelling out a record €10m plus for the site.

With less than 50 premium apartment homes built to dimensions far larger than most Dublin houses, a full-time concierge on site, its own gym and a sauna complex and grand-looking Doric columns in the reception rooms, the luxury dwellings were priced up to €2.5m. At the time, it was reported five sold in the first hour, including two of the three-bed examples - for €2.15m and €1.9m.

It was also the year the 'Dunner' met his wife, the former gossip columnist Gayle Killilea, at the Galway Races where a dominant Fianna Fail party courted him as one of their biggest funders.

Three years later as his wife, the 'Baroness of Ballsbridge' would top his record spend in the residential market when she bought Walford in Shrewsbury Road for €58m - still the highest price ever paid for an Irish home.

The exterior of the complex
The exterior of the complex

But the Dunnes crashed and burned with the Irish economy and the developer and his wife fled to the States, leaving the Irish taxpayer shouldering €350m worth of debt.

And like their fortunes, the values of the apartments at Hollybrook plummeted - the property register shows one selling for €400,000 in 2012.

But since the market recovery started, they have been inching up in price. Values have almost doubled in the last five years and the most recent sales conducted last year saw No40 sell for €895,000, while No22 sold for €825,000.

The complex has weathered the storm well - it still looks regal and smart and the management of the facilities and grounds have not faltered.

Number 20, a two storey unit, which was bought for €625,000 in 2013, has since undergone a refurbishment update which looks like it would leave little change out of €200,000. This week it has come back to market with an asking price of €995,000. Depending on interest, it could be the first Hollybrook home to break through the six figure barrier since the crash and make a million.

The refurb included a redesign and kit-out by the interior designer Helen Turkington, who is renowned for comfortable interiors generally turned out in a palette of neutral greys, creams, whites and mushroom, which also fits with the initial idea from the developer of creating homes to a five-star hotel standard.

The master bedroom has enough space to accommodate a suite of furniture
The master bedroom has enough space to accommodate a suite of furniture

The electrical and bathroom fittings are in sterling silver and this apartment comes with a CCTV system. The owner of the property says living at Hollybrook is "a bit like being on holiday" - perhaps not surprising given that you have access to private acres of manicured lawns, wooded areas and fountains, and daily access to the resident's own leisure centre complex. This has a plunge pool, a good sized gym and a sauna - all of which is for residents' use only.

The second and third floor apartment (it's a duplex) spans 2,799 sq ft - more than twice the size of an average city family home - and comes with underground parking for two vehicles as well as a secure underground storage lock-up facility. The accommodation comprises a large entrance hall with a guest wc located off it. There's a big open plan interconnecting living room and dining room which is handy for entertaining.

The fitted kitchen and breakfast room area has a porcelain tiled floor and integrated appliances.

The master bedroom has an ensuite and is big enough to house the bed as well as a suite of soft furniture around its fireplace.

The other two bedrooms include built-in wardrobes, while the last has a shower room. Heating is gas fired throughout.

The annual management fees cover an extensive list of maintenance as well as practical items such as weekly refuse collection, window cleaning twice a year, annual external painting, landscaping, planting, BBQ area, gutter cleaning, lifts maintenance, outdoor seating in the gardens, carpets cleaning and shampooing in common areas, access gates maintenance and so on. Equally, the fees cover concierge and security services.

A reception room
A reception room

The Hollybrook complex is located off one of Foxrock's most affluent stretches. The village itself a few minute's walk away, while Cornelscourt Shopping Centre, Leopardstown Racecourse, Foxrock Golf Club and Carrickmines Tennis Club are all within easy reach.

20 Hollybrook

Brighton Road, Foxrock,

Dublin 18

Asking price: €985,000

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 2880088

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