Friday 19 October 2018

Lofty aspirations in city centre

One of the first post-recession city centre apartment blocks launches in Smithfield this weekend, Liadan Hynes reports

The luxury sitting room at Oxmanstown Lofts
The luxury sitting room at Oxmanstown Lofts
Oxmanstown Lofts

Oxmanstown Lofts in Dublin's Smithfield launches this weekend, offering one of the first city centre schemes since the crash. Well situated, spacious and with good storage, these apartments offer a realistic solution for first-time buyers and small families seeking long-term urban dwelling and come with a price tag of between €320,000 and €380,000.

If the sprawl of the commuter belt is to be curtailed, this is exactly the kind of high-density inner-city dwelling that is required. However, there is little if anything else like this currently launching on the market.

Situated at the river end of Smithfield Plaza, or Smithfield Square as it is more commonly known, just below the Luas line, Oxmanstown Lofts is a block of two- and three-bed apartments, 15 in total. Five storeys high, there will be a coffee shop on the ground floor, with the apartments spread over levels 1-4.

In total, there are 12 two-beds (four on each floor) from 82.5-84.7sqm, on levels 1-3, and two three-bed penthouse apartments, 100-111sqm and a one-bed penthouse apartment, 57sqm, on the fourth floor.

The block also includes two sizeable roof gardens, floored in maintenance-free synthetic grass, and a bicycle storeroom accessed off the ground-floor lobby. The entrance hall features a painting by artist James Earley, a design which drew inspiration from the form of an ox. There are two stairwells and lift shafts, so only two apartments off each hallway.

Where Temple Bar has become a destination for stag and hen parties and living there involves putting up with a certain amount of post-pub on-street noise pollution, Smithfield attracts a gentler, more hipster crowd.

Brunch options are plentiful and you are within walking distance of O'Connell Street and Grafton Street and the Phoenix Park. The Luas is on the doorstep, and Heuston Station is nearby. There is a small playground opposite the apartments.

Selling agent John Farrell, of Hooke & MacDonald, who has sold apartments in this area for years, has identified an interesting section of the market which currently is a little overlooked. These apartments, he believes, will appeal to non-nationals living in the city, for whom the prospect of a daily commute from the 'burbs holds zero appeal.

They are used to living in apartments, having grown up that way, and no longer want to pay rent.

A second prospective buyer Farrell identifies is the returning emigrant who, again, is often used to apartment living and equally unenthused about the suburbs. The third is the first-time buyer for whom working and living in close proximity is a priority and whose plans include a smaller family of one or two children, rather than three or four.

This is the first scheme by The Dublin Loft Company, set up by brothers Mark and Andrew Cosgrave, who are the next generation of the Cosgrave Group, one of Ireland's top residential builders.

While, at 29 and 26 respectively, the pair might seem young to be launching their own project, they grew up in the family business.

They also personify the generation to whom these apartments will appeal, millennials who want to be able to walk home from work, possibly stopping for a pint on the way, and who rely on bike and public transport, rather than a car.

"Especially in the last few years, when people moved to New York and London and everything was so close to you, now all of a sudden people don't want to commute," reflects Andrew. "Most Europeans are not used to being in cars," adds Mark.

These units are full of the sort of details that take an apartment from a temporary dwelling that will be outgrown sooner or later to a home you could live in on a long-term basis, if city-centre living and a small family are among your life goals.

The apartments themselves are spacious, from the roomy entrance hall, to the sizeable storage room off each hallway, which is plumbed for a washing machine and which would easily fit a buggy.

There is also a clever storage space spanning one wall in each living room, concealed by floor-to-ceiling sliding doors. In the showrooms, it has been styled as a home-office space, opening to reveal a small desk and chair and shelving units.

The fitted kitchen, dark charcoal bespoke units by Eco Interiors, come with hob, ovens, fridges, microwave and dishwasher included. All bar the one bedroom penthouse have an en suite and in most cases a second bedroom has a door to the main bathroom. All bathrooms include heated towel rails.

Floor-to-ceiling windows allow for lots of light, and all bedrooms have fitted wardrobes. All units have balconies, those at the front of the building overlook Smithfield square. These apartments have a BER rating of A3.

Address: Oxmanstown Lofts, Smithfield, Dublin 7

Viewing: Today, 2.30-4 pm

Agent: Hooke & MacDonald (01) 631 8402

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