Builder pays £8m for listed house
NEPTUNE House a listed Co. Dublin property owned by US businessman/benefactor Chuck Feeney, has just been purchased for £8m by Bernard McNamara of building company Michael McNamara & Co, writes Cliodhna O'Donoghue.
Located off the Monkstown Road in Blackrock, about six miles from the city centre, the property was used by Sinn Féin and the Irish Government for secret meetings in the lead up to the peace talks.
The property on 2.47 acres comprises a residential educational facility, which was let to Trinity College Dublin at a peppercorn rent of just £120 per year, and used since 1992 by the Trinity Institute, the education and management development charity organisation that was owned by Trinity.
The land was granted permission about three years ago for a conference centre and delegate residence, but last year Trinity College decided not to avail of the lease any longer.
With extensive frontage to Temple Crescent, the principal building is an impressive Georgian residence which is likely to be retained.
Though Bernard McNamara was not available for comment, the site is likely to be developed for apartment purposes and, in this prime area, the units would command top prices.
James Meagher of DTZ Sherry FitzGerald, also unavailable for comment, acted for the owners of the property, which was held by a trust operation run from a Dublin office headed up by John Healy, the former assistant chief executive of Coras Trachtála.
Chuck Feeney (70) is an American businessman who helped bankroll the IRA ceasefire and is among the world's least known but most generous philanthropists.
Over the last 15 years he has given away more than $600m mainly to educational institutions here and in the US. Chief among the recipients are Trinity College, Limerick University and Dublin City University with around £10m each from Mr. Feeney's Atlantic Trust Foundations.