Thursday 19 October 2017

Lack of office space will hit drive to lure major projects, warns IDA

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

THE nation is running out of top end office space and needs to invest in constructing major office blocks if we are to keep attracting top-level investment into the country.

That was the message from IDA chief executive Barry O'Leary, who warned the dearth of major office blocks will hinder the agency's effort to attract major new employment to Ireland.

Speaking at the IDA's half-year report, Mr O'Leary claimed that there were only a handful of buildings of the required size available and more will be needed quickly.

Buildings

"To take on really big investment, on the scale of 800 or 1,000 jobs, you need buildings with 70,000 to 100,000 square feet of office space. There are maybe four or five buildings of that size at the moment but companies move fast and there is a real chance that we could face a crunch if those are filled.

"Once that happens you are out of the running for taking on investments of that size until equivalent buildings are constructed, and that takes about 18 months," Mr O'Leary said.

"Availability of suitable modern office space, of scale, is strategically important for winning substantial projects," he added.

To that end, IDA has held discussions with the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) about the lack of offices and yesterday the State bad bank played down talk of a rift between the two agencies.

A spokesman for NAMA said both sides had held "regular conversations" and were in close contact with each other.

The concern about office space overshadowed the IDA's half-year report which showed the agency's client companies had created 6,000 jobs so far this year, putting it on track to match last year's performance, when firms took on 13,000 new staff, for a net increase of 6,000 -- the best performance for a decade.

Irish Independent

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