IF Carlsberg ever sought a development company it would pick Cosgrave Developments, probably the most popular and innovative firm in the country, headed by charismatic brothers Peter, Joe, Willie and Michael Cosgrave.
Last night, Cosgrave Developments unanimously won the coveted Irish Developer of the Year Award at the annual Property Awards black tie event, attended by over 1,200 people in the Burlington Hotel last night.
And it was not just the brothers' popularity that attracted the judges. It was the firm's hallmark trait of selecting sites in prime locations -- and producing quality construction and finishes -- which has served them so well in a long list of outstanding successes in both residential and commercial sectors of the market. Cosgrave Developments also won the respect of the industry with their innovative marketing techniques and, above all, their personal input to each and every scheme.
The brothers were all tradesmen to begin with and sons of Patricia and the late Jack Cosgrave of Jackson Properties. Known as "the gentlemen" of the business, this united bunch of siblings are not flamboyant or egotistical, they are genuinely nice, decent, generous guys.
For decades this group has been a trendsetter on the Dublin residential market, though more recently it expanded into commercial property at home and in the UK. It was established by the four brothers in 1979 with a small development of five houses in Stillorgan. They caused quite a stir in the 1980s with three Donnybrook developments, Belville, Morehampton Square and Donnybrook Manor, later moving to the Sweepstakes and Shrewsbury, both in Ballsbridge, and Chesterfield in Castleknock.
They also pioneered inner city living with Custom Hall, an apartment scheme on Gardiner Street, Dublin 1, in 1992, in the middle of the currency crisis, which underlines the firm's confidence in the market and its willingness to undertake a challenge.
They continued to rejuvenate the inner city with a further five developments there, not least the landmark George's Quay office development, which put them in a new league in the commercial sector. The brothers' work on St Helen's in Booterstown also endeared them to the market. They bought the 18th- century building for €2m, added a new block and transformed the refurbished property into a landmark Radisson hotel. They also launched the first development of £1m houses in Ireland with Ardilea Wood in Clonskeagh, which was completed in 2000. The firm is also working on the 50-acre Santry Demesne scheme for logistics and retail warehousing units.