• The Sunday Times
  • Published 15.09.2019

    A concierge service, private dining rooms and a wellness centre are on offer at these Ballsbridge apartments.

    At Lansdowne Place, the upmarket scheme of 215 apartments on the site of the old Berkeley Court hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, the first residents have finally started to move in. Last week I spotted one having a chat with Liam Guerin, the scheme’s head of concierge services, on the courtyard. The berry sculpture, by artist Rachel Joynt, made a striking backdrop, and the planting by landscape architect Bernard Seymour was lush.

    A second was in the residents’ lounge, having what appeared to be a business meeting. Chartered Land, the developer, made sure the residents’ club was open before the first people moved in. This 600 sq m space includes a 24-hour concierge desk, reading room, private dining and function rooms, a meeting room, cinema, gym and wellness centre.

    The developer is selling a lifestyle at Lansdowne Place. This is evident from the attention to detail Guerin has put in to the concierge service. Coming from nearly three decades as restaurant manager at Roly’s Bistro, a Ballsbridge eaterie, he has spent more than a year at Lansdowne Place preparing for this moment. He is determined to give residents a first-class service. “It’s about a  lifestyle, but it’s also about trust and building relationships,” he says.

    It is also evident in the quality of the finishes in the residents’ club and apartments, which include solid-brass number plates and marble light fittings. Miller Brothers Stone, the Co Wicklow-based stone specialist, was brought in to supply the marble throughout the scheme. Kitchen-maker O’Connors of Drumleck made and installed the bespoke handcrafted kitchens. Now the marketing suite at the edge of the site is being dismantled, and the newly opened show units are the apartments where people will eventually live.

    Two interior design firms have been charged with designing the show apartments. Goddard Littlefair, which is based in London, is the main interior designer for the scheme, and has kitted out two of the new show apartments and the penthouse, which is selling for €7m.

    Sara Cosgrove, a Dun Laoghaire-based designer, has come on board to deck out apartment 2B, and also helped with the interiors of the residents’ club, working closely with de Veres, the art auctioneer and valuer, to curate the collection of art on the walls.

    Getting the look and feel of the apartments was “incredibly important”, she says. “What it does is allow potential buyers to really see themselves living there. That is why show apartments are so critical and effective, why agents love them and developers are increasingly realising the value.”

    In the apartments, Cosgrove used a selection of what she calls “vintiques” — vintage antiques. Furnish- ings include Biedermeier chairs and others she has reupholstered, along with customised upholstery. Even the bar stools and rugs are custom-made.

    “I had a type of client in my head. Someone really cools lives here, they are well-travelled and want luxury. This scheme is a benchmark for the market, so the show apartments had to reflect that,” she says.

    To date, nearly 90 apartments have sold at Lansdowne Place. The majority have been to owner-occupiers, many of whom are Irish-based entrepreneurs. Some investors have bought, but most of those are future downsizers.

    Greg Coffey, of Sherry FitzGerald, which is the joint selling agent with Savills, says the sales were better than expected, as they were made off the plans. Prices start at €800,000 for the 72 sq m one-bedroom apartments, which are almost double the size of some one-bedroom apartments in the city. The two-bedroom apartments, which range in size from 96 sq m to 154 sq m, have a starting price of €925,000, rising to €1.875m. Type 2B, which is almost sold out, is starting at €1.65m.

    Some of the lower apartments look directly at their neighbours. All will have to have some sort of net curtain to create uniformity within the scheme — they will provide privacy, too, but thankfully don’t block out too much light.

    The new three-bedroom penthouse, which is the only apartment on its floor has two entrances — one for the staff — and spectacular views across the city. It’s a case of spot the landmark — the Aviva stadium, former Central Bank of Ireland and St Patrick’s Cathedral are among the buildings in view. The Dublin mountains in the distance provide a green backdrop.

    The penthouse measures 320 sq m and has the biggest utility room you are ever likely to see. There is a separate lounge and an open-plan kitchen, dining and living space with extra-high ceilings. The three bedrooms all have en-suite bathrooms and two have walk-in wardrobes. There’s an extra 191 sq m of space in terraces, one of which is off the living room and another is on the roof.

    At Lansdowne Place you don’t need to be able to afford the penthouse to be provided with a first-class service and to use the facilities. Guerin, who is friendly and professional, will see that you make the most of what is on offer here. “It’s a whole experience we’re selling, but we’re also selling security, comfort and discretion,” he says.

    Now that the first residents have moved in, potential buyers can see more clearly what the development offers — and what sets it apart from anything else that’s on sale in Ireland.

    This article originally appeared in the Sunday Times, 15th September 2019 by Linda Daly.

    Open Plan Living Room Dining Room at Penthouse Apartments at Lansdowne Place

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