The next Allsop Space auction is set to be the largest of its kind ever held in this country. Included in the lots is yet another golf club that fell on hard times during the recession, which is set to be offered at a knockdown price, compared to what it would’ve fetched during the boom.
The Woodlands Golf Course, at Coolearagh, Coill Dubh, Naas, Co. Kildre, will primarily appeal to investors, but commentators wager that it may also strike some farmers’ fancy. Allsop Space has set a reserve of between €625,000 and €675,000 for the 18-hole course.
It is thought that some farming interests might pitch for the 127 acre course, described by the members’ website as “Kildare’s precious gem” given the price guide equates to no more than €4,921 to €5,314 per acre, while agricultural land prices remain strong at €8,000 to €10,000 per acre, in the counties adjoining Dublin.
Up until 1993, Woodlands was a privately-owned, nine-hole course, before being sold to local golfing enthusiasts, who subsequently bought an adjoining 60 acres in 1996. Then, after redesigning and converting it into an 18-hole course, Woodlands was opened by the then finance minister, Charlie McCreevy, in June, 2000.
A modern clubhouse was later added, courtesy of loans from Ulster Bank, which now stands as an attractive, well-equipped space that extends to 673 sq. m. (7,250 sq. ft.) and includes changing facilities, bar, office, pro shop and kitchen. However, the club was put into receivership last May, following rising debts of around €2.5 million, along with a recent decline in membership, thanks to the recession.
Woodlands is just one of 150 lots, comprised mainly of commercial and investment properties, with a combined reserve of €20 million, due to go to auction. The event, taking place in the RDS, will be the largest property auction ever held in this country. Last month Allsop Space sold 93 properties in the same venue for a total of €11.2 million, while earlier this year estate agent Knight Frank sold the 120-acre Knockanally House and Golf Club near Kilcock, Co Kildare, for €1.1 million.
Robert Hoban, director of auctions, said he was very proud of the fact that new premises would be bought by the next group of Irish start-up businesses, claiming that every shop, factory and office purchased at the December sale marks a new beginning for another, up-and-coming Irish entrepreneur. Mr Hoban noted that two distinct patterns have emerged from their auctions in the commercial property sector.
Lots located in urban areas have been generating great interest, and this has now extended beyond Dublin to Galway, Cork and Limerick. There is also significant evidence of a widening gap in prices between vacant and occupied properties, with overseas bidders chasing tenanted investments, in particular, more so than previously.
Of the wealth of properties up for auction, the 27-bedroom Rock Glen Hotel, in Clifden, Co. Galway, is one business premises that is likely to attract considerable interest. It comes to market along with a three-bedroom house, and over 21 acres of land, while the hotel itself includes a restaurant, bar, conservatory, residents’ drawing room, TV room and a snooker room. The reserve is set to be about €450,000.
Another lot set to be quite popular is a newly-built, mixed-use development in Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6, for which a reserve has been set at €550,000-€600,000. The development includes three apartments, along with a retail unit, which has planning permission for use as a takeaway.
Elsewhere in Dublin, a reserve ranging from €200,000-€250,000 will apply when The Croppy Acre pub at Ellis Quay goes up for auction. The business is currently rented at €35,000 per year and is expected to be a very popular lot when it goes under the hammer.
One of the highest reserves is being set for the auction of an office block and three warehouses, extending to 2,743 sq. m., at Grant’s Rise, in Greenogue Business Park, Rathcoole, Co. Wicklow. The reserve for the site, which extends to about eight acres, will be set at a whopping €1.15m-€1.35m. The current income, from the three warehouses, is around €63,600.
Elsewhere, a seasonal sale of a Christmas tree farm at Ballinvalley, Redcross, Co Wicklow, should generate considerable interest, given the time of year. The reserve is a comparatively meagre €45,000, for the 47.6 acres which are planted with coniferous trees for the festive period.