Thursday 27 October 2016

Cosgraves 'ahead of posse' in new office space race

Published 25/09/2016 | 02:30

Michael Cosgrave says the Cosgrave Property Group and IPUT hope to have the Exchange building occupied by the end of 2017
Michael Cosgrave says the Cosgrave Property Group and IPUT hope to have the Exchange building occupied by the end of 2017

Developer Michael Cosgrave has said that "talk of oversupply" in the commercial property market may be overplayed, and expressed his view that the demand for office space arising from the UK's decision to vote in favour of Brexit should be sufficient to address any potential imbalance between supply and demand.

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"There has been talk of oversupply in the commercial market, but I think Brexit will take care of that," Cosgrave told the Sunday Independent following the launch last Thursday evening of the Cosgrave Property Group's latest office development, The Exchange in Dublin's IFSC.

The first new Grade A office space to be built within the IFSC's original footprint since 2003, 'The Exchange' is set for completion by October 2017, a fact which Cosgrave hopes will put his family's company and the scheme's financial backers, the property investment fund, IPUT, "ahead of the posse" when it comes to accommodating potential Brexit business.

"There's huge interest. We will be well ahead [of the competition]. There's one floor that's already being let, the ground floor, and basically we'll be ready for fit out by May [of next year] and to have the building occupied by the end of next year," he said.

While Cosgrave was reluctant to identify the Exchange's first tenant, the Sunday Independent understands the Food Safety Authority is set to take space on the building's ground floor.

On the matter of companies that may be seeking to relocate from the UK, he was cautious too, saying: "The whole Brexit thing is very hard to call. I've seen some companies coming over but I don't think they will be moving their headquarters here".

Asked for his view in relation to the availability of accommodation for employees who may find themselves having to relocate to Dublin for work, Cosgrave said the contentious issue of apartment building heights now needed to be addressed.

He said: "Higher buildings are needed. Every other city in the world has buildings of 10 or 12 storeys. In Manhattan, you can go as high as 45. In London, in the docklands you can go as high as 45 or 50 storeys.

"I don't understand why Irish people can't live in good quality high rise buildings. If a building is designed and managed properly, it doesn't make a difference if it's 10 or 12 storeys high, and with economies of scale, build costs are reduced," he said.

Upon completion, The Cosgraves' latest commercial project, the Exchange will be capable of accommodating up to 1,200 employees across its 105,000 sq ft (9,750 sq m) of office space, which will be laid out over six floors.

The €60m development's joint letting agents Savills and JLL are seeking a new HQ occupier to take up the building either in its entirety, or on a floor-by-floor basis. At 19,000 sq ft, the Exchange's floor plates have been arranged to allow for optimum efficiency and flexibility, creating workspace with a LEED gold energy rating which can be adjusted and split to respond to occupiers' individual requirements.

Centrally located on the Docklands Luas line and adjacent to the Citi Group building, just 50 metres from the CHQ Building within a five-minute walk from Connolly Station, the property is surrounded by numerous of the world's leading financial services brands within the IFSC including KPMG, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, SIG and Zurich, PwC, Morgan Stanley, and BNY Mellon.

The Cosgrave Property Group's development of the Exchange is being forward funded by IPUT.

The Cosgraves are handling the project having agreed to sell the original property on the site to IPUT for €25m.

That property has since been demolished to make way for its replacement which is now being built by contractors, John Sisk & Co.

IPUT is poised to benefit from a 6pc income yield once the new block is completed.

Apart from its investment in the Exchange building, IPUT has spent in excess of €300m over the past four years on over 500,000 sq ft of office space within Dublin's docklands.

Sunday Independent

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