Friday 23 August 2019

Green REIT aims to find new tenants with office-share scheme

The property investment vehicle has a partnership with Element 78 - which allows companies get a foothold in Silicon Docks, writes Gavin McLoughlin

Mark Boyce and Kerri Doyle chat with a colleague in their co-working office at Element78
Mark Boyce and Kerri Doyle chat with a colleague in their co-working office at Element78
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Is this the office of the future? Property investor Green REIT is hoping to increase its pipeline of future tenants through a partnership that provides serviced, co-working office space to companies looking to establish a foothold in Silicon Docks.

The partnership is with Element 78, which allows either FDI or home-based tech companies to set up a base in Dublin's George's Quay Plaza, where they will share an office with people from other companies.

The concept of a shared office has been around a long time - but Element 78 says it is "the first company of its type to manage spaces for landlords to help them attract rapid-growth companies, thus funnelling their future occupation pipelines for bigger spaces."

It's a bold claim, but it's being picked up on.

"Element 78 fulfils a vital role in matching the needs of client companies with the mission of Green REIT to provide a range of 21st century workplaces," says Green REIT's investment manager Pat Gunne. "Having created a portfolio of high-quality commercial property assets in Ireland, we are focused on driving future growth and delivering risk-adjusted shareholder returns.

"Having a pipeline of future tenants who have already experienced our world-class facilities - even for a short space of time - is invaluable for us. Start-ups are an important market segment for Green REIT, and we aim to make it as easy as possible for companies to move in, and then hopefully move up."

Element 78's managing director is Edel Flynn, formerly chief executive of the Digital Hub Development Agency. The Digital Hub is a similar project to Element 78 - an "enterprise cluster" where staff from companies like Amazon and Decawave have shared a space.

A seeming lack of office space in Dublin has attracted much recent comment, and Ms Flynn's experience chimes with that of the companies who've said they've found it difficult to find the best home.

"We find that the key challenge many tech companies have is not being able to find the right space - especially as these companies tend to expand quickly," Ms Flynn said.

"The nature of work is changing - it's now about optimising productivity rather than time. Social media schedulers Buffer recently said they are ditching their HQ and moving to a remote team network and a limited amount of what they term co-working spaces.

"Typical Element 78 clients fall into two categories - companies looking for shorter-term space for three months or so who are dipping their toes into the Irish market, and also recently-funded indigenous start-ups who are testing their products," Ms Flynn said.

"Typically, US companies send over a team for the first few months when they are in the process of hiring staff - and many of them find that, without knowledge, Dublin can be a lonely place."

Ms Flynn said currently Element 78's mix of clients is about half domestic companies and half FDI companies, but it expects that within a number of months the latter will make up 70pc of occupants.

"We have a broad clientele ranging from ecommerce, hardware and the internet of things, to the health sector and energy companies innovating in the tech area.

"We tend to think of ourselves as one of the true co-working spaces. People can set-up base here and interact with like-minded individuals," Ms Flynn said.

She added that Element 78 is "particularly trying to encourage tech writers and bloggers to come here for their meetings because they will be sitting amongst the brightest stars in the Silicon Docks launch platform."

Sunday Indo Business

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