Tuesday 17 September 2019

Breathing new life into Clongriffin scheme aimed at first-time buyers

New Priory Clongriffin, Dublin 13

Asking price: €240,000-€295,000

Agent: Hooke & MacDonald, (01) 6318402

Rebuilt complex: The communal area and playground at the New Priory development
Rebuilt complex: The communal area and playground at the New Priory development
One of the bedrooms in the three-bed duplex apartment
The dining and living area in the two-bed apartment

The rise of so-called "cuckoo funds" - or institutional investors that snap up whole developments - means individual buyers seeking their own new apartment in Dublin are increasingly squeezed out of the market by block purchasers.

One of the few apartment developments under construction in Dublin at present aimed at owner-occupiers is New Priory in Clongriffin. But the scheme isn't exactly new and it has a complicated history.

New Priory was built from the shell of Priory Hall, a complex developed off the Hole in the Wall Road during the Celtic Tiger by former IRA hunger striker Tom McFeely. During the property crash, it was revealed that Priory Hall had serious structural and fire safety issues. In 2011, the apartments were condemned by fire safety inspectors and the High Court ordered the immediate evacuation of the complex.

After a painful two-year battle, the debts of owner-occupiers at Priory Hall were eventually being written off by the banks in 2013. The same year, Dublin City Council took on the task of refurbishing the 187 apartments, and the first phase of the project, called New Priory, was launched in October 2016.

The dining and living area in the two-bed apartment
The dining and living area in the two-bed apartment

The complex was essentially rebuilt from top to bottom. This involved replacing the whole roof and using traditional masonry construction methods to replace all the timber-framed penthouses and all the external walls and windows - this time with the appropriate fire stoppings. The entire internal finishes, partitions, joinery and mechanical and electrical installations were also replaced. New fire detections systems, emergency lighting, automatic smoke ventilation and firefighting equipment were installed throughout. The original footpaths, roads and car parking were also removed and relaid.

The second phase of New Priory is being released this weekend, almost three years after the first 45 sales began. Construction Work on the latest phase of 30 apartments has already been completed.

While the prices are firmly in first-time buyer territory, the homes don't qualify for the help-to-buy tax rebate initiative aimed at novice purchasers as the redeveloped apartments are not entirely newly built. And because the original construction dated back to before the introduction of new building regulations, the energy ratings range from B3 to B1, rather than the A BERs that come with brand new apartments.

The new phase is made up of 23 two-bed apartments and seven three-bed duplexes. Prices start at €240,000 for a two-bed measuring 667 sq ft, while a 947-sq ft three-bed duplex is priced from €295,000.

Inside the redeveloped buildings, there is porcelain tiling to the entrance lobby and oak skirting and doors to all communal areas. Kitchen Elegance has supplied contemporary-style units with a white high-gloss lacquered finish to each apartment. The kitchen is also fitted with a range of appliances and Axiom Paloma worktops.

All the bathrooms and en suites come with tiled floors, partially tiled walls, contemporary-style sanitaryware, a bath screen or shower door, heated towel rails, and mechanical extract ventilation. An A-rated gas-fired condensing boiler serves new radiators.

New Priory is across the road from the 53-acre Father Collins Park, named after the first parish priest of the Holy Trinity Parish in Donaghmede. Opened in 2009, it was Ireland's first wind-powered and sustainable public park, and encompasses a 1.5-km running/cycling track, playing pitches, fitness stations, picnic areas, two playgrounds and a skate park. Families can also use a new courtyard and playground at New Priory, the Mayne River Park directly opposite the entrance to the development, or make the short drive to Dollymount Strand or Portmarnock Beach.

Rail commuters from New Priory can use the nearby Clongriffin DART station. For motorists, the M50 motorway is an eight-minute drive away in light traffic, while Dublin city centre and Dublin Airport are 25 minutes and 13 minutes away, respectively.

Viewings at New Priory will be held from 10am to 11.30am tomorrow.

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