Tuesday 17 September 2019

An Bord Pleanala gives green light to McKillen

Approved: An artist’s impression of the Union Cafe site in Mount Merrion. An Bord Pleanala has rejected an appeal against Oakmount’s proposal for its development
Approved: An artist’s impression of the Union Cafe site in Mount Merrion. An Bord Pleanala has rejected an appeal against Oakmount’s proposal for its development
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Developer Paddy McKillen Jr has received the green light from An Bord Pleanala for the construction of 50 apartments and a pub and restaurant in the exclusive south Dublin suburb of Mount Merrion.

While the Bord's approval of McKillen's plan for the delivery of a residential and commercial scheme on the site of the existing Union Cafe in the face of local opposition is significant in itself, it is also likely to increase the appetite of prospective purchasers for the property.

Agent Knight Frank brought the Union Cafe site to the market on behalf of McKillen's Oakmount last month along with an adjoining lot occupied by the former Flanagan Kerins furniture store for a guide price of €32m.

All told, the two properties extend across an area of 0.76 hectares (1.88 acres), and come with full planning permission for a total of 98 apartments and a pub/restaurant and a 119-space underground car park on the Union Cafe site.

Oakmount's sale of the Mount Merrion lands comes just over five months after the company completed its acquisition of the former Flanagan Kerins store site for a figure understood to be in the region of €7m.

While Oakmount indicated in a statement last June that it intended to develop out the Flanagan Kerins site in line with its existing permission, the company also noted that the increased size of its Mount Merrion holding made it "eligible to apply for a new planning permission for the entire site for approximately 150 units under the new Strategic Housing and Development Act".

Finín O'Driscoll of selling agent Knight Frank says the prospective purchaser will have an opportunity to devise an overall masterplan in line with current planning policy changes promoting better land use and higher-density development with a focus on high-quality design and architecture.

In preparation for the sale, architects O'Mahony Pike undertook a feasibility study for the entire site to provide 193 build-to-sell apartments. Quite apart from highlighting the potential to nearly double the number of residential units provided for under the site's two existing planning permissions, the study also incorporates 468 sq m (5,037 sq ft) of commercial space fronting onto North Avenue.

Elsewhere in the capital, McKillen is currently engaged in exclusive talks with an as-yet unnamed party in relation to the sale of the Lennox Building, which his company, Oakmount, is developing at the corner of South Richmond Street and Lennox Street in Dublin 2. The Irish Independent understands the property is on course to secure more than the €25.5m guide price quoted by selling agents Knight Frank, when they brought it to the market in October.

The Lennox Building, which is currently under construction by Oakmount, is due for practical completion by the end of January 2019. The property is fully pre-let to flexible workspace provider Iconic Offices, who will occupy the entire office and leisure accommodation. The ground floor restaurant and ancillary accommodation at lower ground level is being rented by the main trading entity of Paddy McKillen Jr's Press Up Entertainment Group.

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