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Wednesday 15 August 2018

Cherrywood site 'will not answer housing crisis'

The country's largest land sale in decades, with the potential for the development of thousands of homes, is coming to a close.

Five bids have come in for Project Cherry, a 400-acre site in Cherrywood in south county Dublin, with an asking price of €220m. First-round bids were made last Friday and second-round offers will be made this week.

Irish property developer Johnny Ronan (inset) is understood to be behind one of the five bids. Various US firms have also made offers.

Up to 3,836 homes can be built on the massive site but an industry insider said this will not be the game-changing sale the country has hoped for.

"This is a ten-year project and it's highly unlikely that you'll see a single house on the site within those next ten years," said a property source. "There is no hard and fast rule as to how many houses have to be built there," added the source.

The plan for the site, which is part of a larger 890-acre strategic development zone, is for retail units as well as residential and office buildings. However, the insider said that the residential builds will not resemble a leafy suburb.

"The residential properties that will eventually be built, will be towards higher-density builds because the site is on a public corridor," explained the source.

The big chunk of land straddles the M50. "The plan is to create a new town," the source added.

Property agent Savills is coordinating the sale.

"It has gone quite well," said Domhnaill O'Sullivan, from Savills. "The sale is going to happen this year - that's the timeline we've put on it."

He would not be pushed on the number of bidders or who they were. However, another party close to the sale said that after all bids were received last Friday it was clear that the asking price of €220m was going to greatly exceeded.

"Because of the number of interested parties and the strength of their bids the sale price will be passed," said a source.

Of the five bids, three are linked to funds in the US.

The Cherrywood site was originally parcelled together by property developer Liam Carroll but in recent years has been controlled by the banks. The site came on the market after An Bord Pleanala made it a strategic development zone, which allows for fast-track planning.

strategic

And, according to Savills, the site will have an annual income of more than €7m for whoever buys it, with the potential of that to go up to €10m. The property agent has called it a "once in a generation" opportunity.

With its large surrounding population, its connection to the country's main road network, as well as to bus and Luas routes, the site will make up a major part of the property jigsaw.

The Herald understands that the sale could be as close as three weeks away.

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