Thursday 15 November 2018

From Googletown to 'Amazonville'...Global tech firms move from Dublin's Silicon Docks to city centre

Artists’ impression of the Charlemont Exchange
Artists’ impression of the Charlemont Exchange
Artist's impression of Charlemont Square

Ronald Quinlan Commercial Property Editor

The dominance of Dublin's Silicon Docks as the location of choice for global and homegrown tech companies looks set to be challenged following decisions by Amazon and WeWork to rent a total of 322,000 sq ft (29,914 sq m) of office space in two new developments on Charlemont Street.

The Irish Independent can reveal that both the McGarrell Reilly Group's development at Charlemont Square and the Marlet Property Group's Charlemont Exchange scheme will be leased in their entirety by the US-headquartered companies.

In the case of Charlemont Square, it is understood the online retail giant has agreed to pay McGarrell Reilly, which is headed up developer Sean Reilly, a rent of €55 per square foot for all 200,000 sq ft of the office space being delivered as part of the wider Charlemont Street Regeneration Project.

The €85m mixed-use scheme is being delivered by the McGarrell Reilly Group as part of a partnership it entered into with Dublin City Council.

Phase one of the project saw the delivery last September of 79 social housing units along with a range of community facilities.

A further 184 private residential are due to be completed on the site, bringing the total number of new homes to 263. Work on Amazon's Charlemont Square offices are scheduled to commence later this year.

The Charlemont Exchange deal meanwhile will see Amazon join forces with WeWork, the world's biggest provider of flexible work space, in an agreement where the tech giant will be the scheme's anchor tenant on flexible terms.

Artist's impression of Charlemont Square

Developer Pat Crean's Marlet Property Group is understood to have secured a rent of €55 per square foot from WeWork in a deal which will see the flexible workspace behemoth take all 122,000 sq ft of the scheme's four blocks.

While the tie-up between WeWork and Amazon marks something of a fresh departure for the Dublin office market, the two companies were earlier this week reported to be in advanced discussions on a letting deal for 90,000 sq ft of office space at Hanover House in Manchester in the UK.

That deal, should it be signed, would see Amazon sub-letting between 40,000 sq ft and 50,000 sq ft of the available space to WeWork.

News of Amazon's latest expansion of its Dublin footprint comes just three weeks on from the company's official opening of its new EMEA headquarters at the 172,000 sq ft Vertium Building, developed by Johnny Ronan's Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE) on Burlington Road in Dublin 4. Speaking at the event, Amazon's Country Leader for Ireland, Mike Beary announced his company's intention to create 1,000 new jobs for Amazon and Amazon Web Services (AWS) over the next two years.

The US company currently employs a total of 2,500 people in Ireland. Over 1,000 of those employees are located in Cork while 1,500 are based in Dublin, where Amazon focuses on the provision of cloud services.

WeWork's intention to let Charlemont Square meanwhile represents its second deal with the McGarrell Reilly Group.

WeWork officially opened its first Irish location at the developer's Iveagh Court development on nearby Harcourt Road last month. Since the agreement of that initial deal last November, WeWork has moved to increase its Dublin presence significantly. The company currently has deals in place to rent all 73,000 sq ft of office space at Hines's scheme at One Central Plaza on Dame Street; all 50,000 sq ft of the offices at Green Reit's 5 Harcourt Road; all 99,500 sq ft of the office space at No 2 Dublin Landings which is being developed by Ballymore and Oxley in the Docklands, and 50,000 sq ft across two floors of Irish Life's 1GQ scheme on George's Quay.

Taken together, WeWork's Dublin footprint will extend to 449,500 sq ft of office space once its deal on Charlemont Square is concluded.

Irish Independent

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