610 Longboat Quay South, Hanover Quay, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2
Selling price: €695,000 Broker: Owen Reilly (01) 677 7100
When Derek Allen dreamed of living in a ‘proper’ penthouse, there wasn’t too much real estate in Dublin to consider.
There were plenty of chic new two-bed top-floor rooms with short balconies, but the capital lacked the kinds of super-prime top-floor apartments that are readily available in other European cities — with much larger living spaces, look on the water, proper outdoor patios and more landmark restaurants and amenities on your doorstep.
But at the height of the Celtic Tiger, as development in Dublin’s Docklands kicked into gear, plans were unveiled for Longboat Quay just outside the Grand Canal Dock. The area was also designed for a landmark upscale hotel and the Bord Gáis Theater by internationally acclaimed architect Kevin Roche.
“I heard about this incredible plan to build apartments in Dublin’s Docklands in 2008,” says Allen. “There was nothing in the area at the time. As soon as I saw the plans, I fell in love with the penthouse. I just had to have it.”
Allen wrote his name on the three bed penthouse and bought it off the plans before it was even built. It was not an easy purchase for him.
“There was a lot of borrowing, begging and stealing. But for me, buying a penthouse in Dublin city center was the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” he says.
Since the apartment had not yet been built, he was able to discuss the floor plan with the builders and the architect and request changes before moving in in 2009.
As a result, the kitchen/living area is open plan. The kitchen has hand-painted cream units with intricate blue and cream tile on the splashback. The space is matched with a round table and chairs and has a large spherical smoked glass light hanging above the kitchen table.
Over the years he has consulted with numerous design consultants on the interior to give it what he calls a ‘London feel’. The airy living area now has a comfortable couch and low wooden coffee table. There is a large round mirror on the wall above the couch, giving it a fitting nautical touch, and sliding glass doors open onto a south-facing balcony here.
He changed the tiles in the master bathroom to burnt earth and beige. He also installed underfloor heating. Floors are wood throughout, and ceilings in all rooms are high with subtle coving.
There are two large double bedrooms, one ensuite, opening onto the south facing balcony. The third bedroom, which he uses as a study, has access to the north-facing balcony and can be reached from the hallway.
So, a huge housing crash and 14 years later, does he have any regrets?
“I regret nothing. It was worth every penny,” he says, adding that the penthouse at 610 Longboat Quay South is indeed a “lifestyle” he’s loved over the years.
“It’s probably one of the nicest penthouses in Dublin,” he says. “A glass of sparkling wine here on the balcony and you think you are in a luxury hotel.”
It’s not just the top floor vantage point seven floors up but its location in one of Dublin’s coolest spots that did it for Allen. It directly overlooks the Grand Canal Dock and contemporary landmarks.
“I regularly take the elevator down and go to the Marker Hotel next door for drinks on the roof,” says Derek. “On the weekends, I roll into Herbstreet restaurant (famous for its brunch) to eat Eggs Benedict and meet friends. If I need a pedicure there is a beautician on the ground floor of the building and the H Bar is just a few doors down. It makes the best Negroni in Dublin!”
It has a double aspect and offers both south and north facing terraces.
The south facing balcony has a table and chairs and olive trees that Derek imported from Tuscany. “When I’m home, I like to sit on the balcony next to my olive trees and sip a macchiato while watching the swans on the Grand Canal Dock below,” he says.
“Someone said to me at the time, ‘People don’t buy property for the view,’ but I disagree. This is one of the most stunning views in Dublin and it makes a world of difference if you live here.” It looks straight out onto the water of the Grand Canal Dock and you can see the Dublin Mountains in the distance.
“You have the red poles lit up at night, the glittering water below reflecting the light of the moon, and the Gallery Quay restaurant below with its fairy lights. Even though I live in a city, I feel like I can breathe looking at this view.”
The apartment has a parking space and the area is managed by The Long Boat Quay Management at a fee of €1,752 per year. Like most Tiger-era apartment blocks, this one had problems that have since been fixed. “They fireproofed the building and recently installed a new roof,” explains Derek.
Allen also emphasizes the sense of community in the area. In summer, his neighbors often gather on the communal roof garden. “A colorful mix of people lives here, most of whom are owner-occupiers,” he says. “Everyone is very friendly and knows each other.
Derek has recently started his own tour guide business and finds himself away for long periods of time and not using the apartment as often as he would like. He also plans to move in with his partner and sells as a result.
“The move will not be easy because the penthouse is unique and I don’t think I will ever find a home like this again,” he says. “But love is calling me and it’s time to let it go!”
Owen Reilly is aiming for €695,000.
https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/how-one-man-has-no-regrets-after-buying-celtic-tiger-penthouse-off-the-plans-before-market-crashed-41992950.html How one man has ‘no regrets’ after pulling Celtic Tiger’s penthouse off plans before the market crashed