Thursday 19 October 2017

JP Morgan eyes Capital Dock for Brexit relocation

Kennedy Wilson is set to deliver 340,000 sq ft of office space by the final quarter of this year
Kennedy Wilson is set to deliver 340,000 sq ft of office space by the final quarter of this year
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

US investment banking giant JP Morgan is understood to be considering the relocation of hundreds of its employees from London to Capital Dock, the 31,600 sq m (340,000 sq ft) office scheme currently being developed by Kennedy Wilson in Dublin's docklands. The site could potentially house around 1,000 employees.

News of JP Morgan's potential post-Brexit move will be welcomed, coming as it does in the wake of the decision by two major insurance companies, Lloyd's of London and AIG, to choose Brussels and Luxembourg instead of Dublin for their respective European Union bases.

Prior to last June's referendum, J.P Morgan boss Jamie Dimon said as many as 4,000 employees could be relocated if Britain chose to leave.

While a source familiar with the matter insisted that a decision on Capital Dock was "still up in the air", JP Morgan's intentions in relation to the scheme's offices are currently the subject of intense speculation within Dublin's commercial real estate sector.

The Irish Independent understands that JP Morgan has been engaged in a search for space capable of accomodating employees from both its existing offices at George's Dock in the IFSC and up to 500 personnel currently working within its London operations.

In terms of timing, it remains unclear when the bank's current Dublin employees would relocate to new offices, given the fact that JP Morgan remains committed to a 25-year lease from December 1996 on its George's Dock premises.

Capital Dock's office space is set to be delivered by Kennedy Wilson in the final quarter of this year, with 190 apartments on its adjoining 4.8 acre site ready for occupation from 2018, making both offerings timely propositions for JP Morgan and other financial services firms seeking to relocate from London in the wake of Brexit.

Kennedy Wilson's intention to offer office tenants at Capital Dock priority access to the scheme's 190 apartments is widely acknowledged within property circles as providing it with an advantage over its competitors aiming to attract London-based banks to Dublin.

The US-headquartered real estate giant has been aggressive in its pursuit of post-Brexit business, with members of its senior management confirming to analysts from Deutsche Bank as far back as last October that they had already held "preliminary talks" with a number of banks in London in relation to the relocation of some of their operations to Dublin.

Asked by the Irish Independent for comment at the time, Kennedy Wilson Europe's chief operating officer Peter Collins said: "As a company with a long-term commitment to Ireland, we are of course interested in exploring the unfolding scenarios offered by Brexit and the potential for further investment in Ireland, and Dublin in particular."

A request to Kennedy Wilson's spokesman for comment yesterday on JP Morgan's potential move to Capital Dock had not been met with a response by the time of going to press.

JLL, the agents responsible for lettings at Capital Dock declined to comment on the matter, as did a spokeswoman for JP Morgan.

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