Tuesday 17 October 2017

Twitter set to move into the former FAS headquarters

Twitter: Moves afoot
Twitter: Moves afoot

Peter Flanagan Commercial Property Editor

TWITTER is set to move its European headquarters to new offices in Dublin, in a move which could lead to an expansion of its business here.

The microblogging site will transfer its operations from the Academy Building on Pearse Street to the former Fas offices on Baggot Street.

The Baggot Street building is owned by the US investment firm Kennedy Wilson. It is vacant and would need a lot of renovation.

But Kennedy Wilson is understood to have convinced Twitter that it can be renovated quickly to the exact specifications Twitter wants. In return, Twitter has given the building "preferred status" for its new HQ.

A fortnight ago, Kennedy Wilson was granted planning permission to dramatically extend and refurbish the offices. Once that is complete, the building will have about 185,000 sq ft of office space - enough space for more than 1,000 people.

The company is unlikely to take up all of the new space but will be the key tenant once the construction work is complete.

Twitter currently employs more than 200 people in Dublin but is expanding rapidly. Like other US tech firms here it has been looking for enough space that would allow it to hire new staff quickly and still have space for future expansion.

Twitter's decision to move is the latest in a line of office moves by overseas firms in Dublin, as they ramp up their operations in the capital.

Last year, Facebook moved from Hanover Quay in Grand Canal Docks to offices at 4 Grand Canal Square. That building is about to be sold by Nama, but Facebook will not be affected by the sale.

Facebook will be replaced in the Hanover Quay building by AirBnB, which has already outgrown its current offices in the Watermarque Building beside Shelbourne Park dog track.

Professional networking site LinkedIn, meanwhile, is also in the midst of extending its presence in the city.

The firm is currently based at offices in Wilton Place along the Grand Canal and a stone's throw from Twitter's planned new offices. However, the company has decided to take on a vacant site next door, which would allow it to double its size in Dublin.

Google has been the most active of the major tech firms, however. In 2011 it bought the Montevetro skyscraper - Dublin's largest office block - for €99m and earlier this year it bought the Grand Mill Quay building next door, effectively locking in its Irish presence for the long term.

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