Life Homes

Friday 22 August 2014

Stunning Dublin mansion on the market for €8m less than during the boom

Mark Keenan

Published 03/07/2014 | 19:26

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The Churchtown property is on the market for €2.95m.
The Churchtown property is on the market for €2.95m.
The extensive vaulted underground space beneath the house, currently used as a wine cellar.
The extensive vaulted underground space beneath the house, currently used as a wine cellar.
The pillared portico entrance, believed to have been added about 150 years ago.
The pillared portico entrance, believed to have been added about 150 years ago.

Fancy an 18th Century Dublin mansion at €8m off the boom era price?

An 18th Century mansion in Churchtown with a secret swimming pool and underground cellar is on the market for €2.95m.

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Churchtown House at Weston Park in Churchtown, Dublin 14 has been around the houses itself through the past 15 years. It’s been bought and sold four times from the beginning of the boom to its end with a price differential of more than €8m between the cash paid for it at the top end of the property curve in 2006 and the rock bottom of the market in 2011. Now it's on the market for a fifth occasion.

Its value has risen and fallen on an erratic trajectory which reflects the crazy rollercoaster ride values have taken taken at the top end of the Dublin residential market.

Sold to the Dutch Government by a religious order for just over €120,000 prior to the market lift off, Churchtown House spent many years serving as the embassy of the Netherlands before it was acquired by developer Martin Whelan right at the beginning of the boom in 1997.

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Mr Whelan paid the Dutch around €1m for the house. At the time it came with two acres. The developer – who was in the alarm business – stripped off one acre for the development of eight houses which were sold on. Almost a decade later at the peak of the bubble in 2006 he brought the property back for sale. It went for auction with one acre attached and sold for a whopping €10.5m.

This time it was bought by en entrepreneur running a holistic treatment and healing business and it was he who ended up holding the value bomb when the market collapsed the following year. It was taken over by the receiver Horwath Bastow Charleton and brought back to market again in 2010 seeking €3m.

The price paid by the current owner – a lobbyist and businessman – at the rock bottom of the market in 2011 was even lower again: a paltry €2.15m.

Churchtown House's rollercoaster price ride didn't end there.

The businessman invested around €150,000 on doing up the property (it had remained vacant for some years and required work).

Then early last year Sotheby's International began a campaign to sell it abroad, offering the property for €4.5m in China and in mainland Europe.

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By October it had been switched over to Sherry FitzGerald which was seeking a significantly reduced €3.6m late last year but failed to sell it.

Now Churchtown House is back on the market yet again – through agent Vincent Finnegan and a new asking price of €2.95m is being sought.

“This time around we think it will finally settle down and that it will be bought by a family as a really decent private home,” says Stuart Walker of Finnegans – who sold the property before when it was acquired by its current owner.

“It's strengths are the fact that it is located in a sought after part of Dublin, that it has private grounds, that is near a number of top schools, the Luas and top shopping facilities at the Dundrum Centre, Nutgrove and Rathfarnham.”

There's also the sheer size - at just under 10,000 sq ft, this property is 10 times the size of the average family semi. And as well as having all the typical period features – characteristic 14 foot high ceilings, Adams style marble fireplaces, intricate corning work and so on, it also has some luxurious modern touches a family will make good use of.

For one thing it has a hidden swimming pool. The current owner floored over the pool with wood, assessing that his need for a gym (the current function) was greater than a swim. However according to the agents the pool is there, piped up and the filters et al are all in place. All the new owner needs to do is to lift the lid and fill it.

Another curious aspect of the property – which goes back to its 18th Century origins – is the extensive vaulted underground space beneath the house, currently used as a wine cellar.

Perhaps its most impressive feature is its robust pillared portico entrance, believed to have been added about 150 years ago when the original farmhouse complex which stood here was gentrified with a Georgian style upgrade.

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Churchtown House is approached via electric gates and along a sweeping gravel driveway through its acre of landscaped gardens and terraces.

Enter through the grand main door and you're into the main hall which comes with a flagged stone floor. Off this is the drawing room with its marble fireplace, oak flooring and ceiling cornices.

There's a morning room also with a marble fireplace, oak floor and cornices and a dining room with a third marble firepalace and an arch running through to the cocktail bar.

For entertaining guests, this has a built in bar counter, a pine floor and its own marble fireplace.

There's a livingroom which has in recent years functioned as a home cinema and a substantial conservatory with doors to the garden.

The house comes with a new kitchen installed into the kitchen/family room open plan space last year as part of the current owners investment package into the property. This is fitted with an oak floor and granite tops, island units, a Brittania cooker with a double oven, an American style fridge/freezer and a five oven Aga.

There's the Home Gym which comes with two shower rooms and a steam room, a home office and a range of ancillary utility rooms.

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Upstairs this house has enough sleeping accommodation to keep the Waltons happy – there are six bedrooms in all along with another office/study, which could become a seventh bedroom.

The master chamber has a suite with its vaulted ceiling, dressingroom, ensuite bathroom with a jacuzzi, sauna and shower, and a sitting room attached. Three more bedrooms have ensuites attached.

Additional features at Churchtown house include a high grade intruder alarm and CCTV security system, a central vacuuming system and the house is wired for surround sound.

It has its own diesel power generator and there's also a double garage for the family cars.

The price is €2.95m through the  Finnegan agency (01-2984695).

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