Brexit could be dampening demand for Dublin offices

Moving out: AIB will exit their Bank Centre by the end of 2020

John Mulligan

Brexit uncertainty could be putting firms off leasing office space in Dublin, a report from property consultants HWBC has warned.

It said that while there had been a number of high-profile deals inked during 2018 for individual leases, each in excess of 100,000 sq ft, the jostling for large-scale office space masked weakening demand from companies for spaces under 30,000 sq ft.

There were six deals in Dublin last year for spaces larger than 100,000 sq ft. This led HWBC managing director Tony Waters to describe 2018 as the "year of the mega tech deal".

Facebook topped the list, with a commitment to quadruple its office space in the capital after signing a long-term lease for the AIB Bank Centre across the road from the RDS.

AIB will exit the centre by the end of 2020. Part of the centre is being redeveloped by Johnny Ronan. The remainder of the site is divided into two portions, owned respectively by the Serpentine Consortium, and a European syndicate assembled by Davy.

Google agreed to buy the Boland's Quay campus under development, for a total cost of €300m. Linkedin also expanded its office needs, agreeing to let 153,000 sq ft of space at One Wilton Plaza.

Co-working giant WeWork accounted for four of the top 10 deals in Dublin during 2018.

HWBC said it expects prime office rents in Dublin during 2019 to remain at their current level of between €60 to €65 per square foot, noting that the market is maturing.

With 1.83m sq ft of new office space completed in 2018, HWBC is expecting a further capacity of 2.3m sq ft to be completed this year. It added that 80pc of new space has already been leased.