Friday 15 December 2017

Suburban offices fill up as firms exit city centre

East Point Business Park is now as busy as it has ever been, as firms move out from the city centre
East Point Business Park is now as busy as it has ever been, as firms move out from the city centre
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

THE lack of desirable office space in Dublin is pushing companies out of the city centre and into the suburbs, where rents are cheaper and much more space is available.

One of the suburban business centres taking advantage of the trend is East Point Business Park in Clontarf on Dublin’s northside, where vacancy levels have plunged to their lowest levels since the park was first opened in the mid 1990s. Deutsche Bank, Google and Cisco Systems are among the blue chip tenants to have set up there in recent years.

According to Matt Gallagher of Earlsfort Group, which developed East Point, the  park has been ideally placed to take advantage of rising rents in the so called “prime” areas of Dublin, but it has been a long road for it.

“There is about 1.5m sq ft here, but it has taken us a good number of years to get there,” he said.

Like most suburban business centres, East Point faced reputational issues from the very start. Many workers were unwilling to move out of city centre locations to a place which was regarded as well outside the city, even though it is roughly a 10 minute drive from here to O’Connell Street.

“Nobody who worked in East Point had any problem with being here,” said Gallagher. “The problem we had was companies looking to locate here from town all thought it was too far out. This was at the time of the boom and companies were struggling to get staff, so employees were putting on pressure to stop the move and a lot of companies just backed off and took the easier option. Not everyone did but a lot did.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Port Tunnell construction, which caused huge disruption to the area around East Point but didn’t effect the park directly, also discouraged some would-be tenants.

Now though, those fears have dissipated. With rents increasing sharply in the likes of Dublin 2 and Dublin 4, Mr Gallagher sees East Point as being able to offer comparable facilities at a much lower price.

That has been so successful that the park is about 92pc occupied at present, with only the odd floor available.

“When we started building here, we took a strategic decision to build three storeys and have surface car parking, and in stage 2 of the park we went up to four storeys and built a multi-storey car park. That has been well received and we are continuing to go from strength to strength.”

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