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  1. JoeDavola, interesting. From memory the Arc 3 beds originally at release in 2007 were priced from around £695k to £850k. I see the rates for the Obel Apt is £1600 & Service Charge is £2000 so £3600 per year running costs before any mortgage etc..
  2. 'Dream' Apartments.... Neighbours of these apartments were certainly not living the Dream of apartment life in Belfast or enjoying sweet dreams.. Once again the issue of short-term rentals in residential apartment blocks, not specifically designed blocks with full concierge type services rears its extremely ugly head. If Belfast City Council seriously wants to promote city centre living and try to develop and support communities action needs to be taken as has been done by other cities to curtail the proliferation of unregulated short-term lets. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus/belfasts-high-rise-partying-potential-covid-19-time-bomb-expert-39212127.html
  3. I remember around the time of the crash there was the treesdontgrowtothesky.com website which tracked the changes in asking prices of properties listed, some of the drops over the following months were amazing.
  4. Stingray192, could it have been the firm mentioned in this article...? https://m.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/imported/firms-bankruptcy-may-mean-bills-for-apartment-owners-28246342.html
  5. Also do a check on AirBnB if you or anyone else you know is registered on it, also Homeaway etc to try and gauge if any of the neighbouring Apt's are short-term rentals, it can be very unpleasant living beside one.
  6. Cheers JoeDavola.. Yep, I'd be pretty frustrated if I was the purchasing Apt owner who hadn't done homework (caveat emptor however) and then the expansive outlook was then blocked by an office block. I do remember when the plans were released though that the design was I thought a bit overbearing on the CHS, as it would cut out light etc into it. The CHS looks better being an open area. I would agree the 1960's/70's section of the building would benefit from a good redevelopment, but feel that the historical section should be left as is - it was also going to have a large extension stuck on the top of it.. A case of the 'old' versus 'new' and what constitutes good redevelopment/progress and what is maintaining/preserving old buildings argument I suppose. http://www.futurebelfast.com/property/4-queens-square/
  7. Anyone thinking of purchasing that should keep a very close eye on Planning Applications.. A large French property company called Stargime bought the adjacent vacant ex-First Trust building and submitted plans for redevelopment of the building to include adding about 4 floors to the top of it. The plans were rejected by BCC but the redevelopment of the site still poses the risk that the outlook from the long frontage could possibly end up just being directly towards an office block in very close proximity. Not particularly pleasant what with all the floor to ceiling windows which as well as giving a good view out could result in giving a view in impacting privacy...
  8. Yes, looking at the likes of AirBnB, there are quite a number of properties in TQ, Obel, CHS & St. Annes Sq listed on it. Its fine for the owners of them earning good money, but it can both be highly unpleasant for neighbours of the units, plus potentially detrimental to the smooth running of the Apt block. Values could be adversly affected. In the apartment blocks leases there are likely clauses designed or can be used to prevent short-term lettings, but it will take a proactive Managing Agent/Management Company to enforce it. I would likewise be very wary about buying where there are lots of short-term Apts. Many other cities have taken steps to curb them in residential blocks and Belfast City Council should do the same if they are serious about trying to encourage long-term owner occupiers to take up city living. Short-term rentals are fine in specifically designed 'Apart-Hotels' where there are Concierge services etc., but not in normal residential blocks.
  9. I'm pretty sure the 1 beds were over £200k when originally released, and the 2 beds were around £300k. They are very nicely finished indeed, though not very big. The communal areas are highly appointed too, however as has been pointed out how much time is actually spent there. Also, to maintain the appearance will require funds from the Management Charge. Worth noting as well, especially if a potential purchaser, is that quite a few Apts in this block are short-term rentals, eg on AirBnB, so there will be all the associated issues from that. It's not pleasant, having neighbours changing on a sometimes daily basis, hence increased noise etc., especially when 1 bed Apts are advertised for up to 4 guests and 2 bed Apts advertised for up to 6. I have had a short-term rental unit as a neighbour temporarily and can advise its far from ideal. If I was purchasing in any City Centre development I'd be both checking the lease terms and also requesting from the Managing Agent via my solicitor if any known Apts are short-term rentals. However, they may not be aware themselves.
  10. Yes, agree... I nearly mistook it for an operating theatre - very clinical & austere looking. Maybe trying to appeal to consultants/surgeons?! ;-)
  11. I would definitely not want to be an owner occupier neighbour of an AirBnB - neighbours changing on a potentially daily basis, with many over for a few days partying.
  12. There is an Ulster Tatler interview with Gary McCausland in it's December issue, and The Gallery gets a plug..... Also - a rental listed on PropertyPal, it's not re. a specific Apartment, so presume that more than one may be available...:- https://www.propertypal.com/apt-the-gallery-71-dublin-road-belfast/435055
  13. It was Eric Cairns Partnership prior to its merger with BTW Shiels. Simon Brien was one of the senior staff in Eric Cairns...
  14. Yes, Getdoon_Weebobby, for a development of that small size, esp if mostly owner occupied proactive owners self-management should be easy enough. Companies Registry, now Companies House used to have a downloadable info booklet giving advice on how to do filings/accounts etc for Flat Management Companies..
  15. JoeDavola - you are to be commended for highlighting the issues of Service Charges, the Managing Agent (who manage the day-to-day running of development) and the Management Company (Company in which all owners are shareholders) to your friend. In my opinion these issues should be high on the checklist of any prospective purchaser of an apartment. As you outline, this is a public forum, hence my considered response. I have owned 2 apartments in two different blocks managed by Brackenwood, and in both cases when we had strong 'owner' Boards of Directors we took steps to remove them due to owners being highly unhappy with their level of service and Management Practices. I would concur with the views in the two websites. Your mate should enquire the following below:- 1: Does the Mngt Co. pertaining to the development have both separate 'current a/c' & 'deposit a/c' bank accounts into which all owners Mngt Charges are deposited into, to ensure finances for ongoing funding of services, plus a separate 'sinking fund' are fully ring-fenced for sole purpose of that development and are not instead being deposited into the Managing Agents 'client account', used to fund many developments - highly undesirable. 2: Are the Directors of the Management Company owners of Apts in the development, so have firm interest in good management of block, or are the Directors employees of the Managing Agent, effectively creating a 'conflict of interest' situation, employing themselves with little oversight - highly undesireable. 3: Who countersigns cheques/payments? - does the Managing Agent have sole signing authority or do owner shareholders/Directors have to countersign cheques after having sight/verification of valid invoice? Highly undesirable if Managing Agent has sole payment authority. 4: Are annual accounts lodged at Companies House audited/checked by external accountants/auditors or lodged as 'dormant accounts' by Managing Agent. Undesirable. 5: Is the Insurance Policy in the name of the development itself or a block policy taken out by Managing Agent, which could potentially result in higher premium if there developments have high claims history. Points I would have to make though is that purchasers of Apartments need to take a greater interest in the whole Management Company & Managing Agent aspect when signing for an apartment so they understand the full ramifications and responsibilities of lease etc they are signing. Unfortunately apathy also causes difficulties. Often only a handful of owners turn up at an AGM, plus any that do are often reluctant to assume Directorship positions, which then allows the Managing Agent to step in and effectively take control of the running of the block. This is exacerbated where during the boom, the vast majority of purchasers have been investors, so there is little 'owner occupier' ownership and day-to-day interest in running of the development. Good luck to your mate..
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