Tuesday 17 July 2018

'Googletown' extends to 'burbs' as US web giant secures new offices in Sandyford

Google is in talks to move into the Blackthorn Building
Google is in talks to move into the Blackthorn Building

Ronald Quinlan Commercial Property Editor

Google is set to expand its Irish operations further with a planned move to offices in Sandyford in south Co Dublin.

The Irish Independent understands that the US web giant has reached an agreement to lease space for several hundred additional employees at the Blackthorn Building at the heart of the newly-branded Sandyford Business District (SBD).

Google's latest planned expansion will see it occupy all four floors of the Blackthorn Building. Google's agreement to rent the Irish Life-owned property follows discussions with the owners of several buildings in the Sandyford area.

The company is understood to be in advanced talks with US real estate giant Kennedy Wilson about taking space at the Chase Building and with the owners of the Atrium, which was formerly occupied by Microsoft. Google's move into south Dublin represents something of a departure from the strategy it has pursued to date in relation to the location of its Dublin operations.

Since acquiring its EMEA headquarter offices on Barrow Street and the nearby Montevetro Building (for €100m and €99m respectively in 2011), the company has concentrated its search for additional office space within that immediate area, earning it the moniker of 'Googletown'.

Earlier this year, Google reached agreement to rent the newly-constructed Velasco Building on Grand Canal Street. The 51,000 sq ft property is within walking distance of its Barrow Street HQ.

The Irish Independent understands, meanwhile, that Google remains in informal discussions with the owners of the Treasury Building in relation to its possible acquisition.

Outside of its presence within Dublin's Central Business District (CBD), the US web giant entered into a 10-year lease on Block L at Freeman House in East Point Business Park in 2013. Confirmation of Google's arrival at the Sandyford Business District will be seen as a major boost to the area's efforts to draw fintech employers away from the Dublin's docklands and CBD, where rents for prime office space now exceed €60 per square foot.

Rents in Sandyford, in contrast, are closer to €30 per square foot. Only recently, AIB agreed a rent with Green Reit of €27 per square foot for Block H at its Central Park development. The property has the capacity for up to 1,500 workers.

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