Business Irish

Friday 19 October 2018

Google strikes office deal with O'Brien in Dublin's Silicon Docks

Growth of capital's 'Googletown' continues as web giant moves into former Esat HQ

Businessman Denis O’Brien. Photo: Bloomberg
Businessman Denis O’Brien. Photo: Bloomberg
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Google has moved to increase its massive footprint in Dublin's Docklands yet again after entering into a long-term agreement with businessman Denis O'Brien to rent several floors at his office block at Grand Canal Quay.

The Sunday Independent has learned the company is taking six floors of office space at the building as part of its drive to expand in the booming Silicon Docks area.

It is understood the billionaire will retain, and continue to work from, his offices on the property's top two floors. A spokesman for O'Brien declined to comment on the deal.

News of Google's move into the former headquarters of O'Brien's telecoms business Esat comes as the company prepares to sign a deal with developers Johnny Ronan and Paddy McKillen to acquire the Treasury Building on nearby Grand Canal Street for a figure in excess of €115m.

Google's intention to buy the 11,619 sq m (125,066 sq ft) property which serves as NTMA headquarters was first revealed by this newspaper last November.

The two transactions come just over two months on from Google's completion of a €300m deal to acquire the entire Bolands Quay scheme.

Located immediately beside O'Brien's Grand Canal Quay offices, the development will comprise 36,851 sq m (396,660 sq ft) of office, residential, retail and cultural space, and be capable of accommodating up to 2,500 workers.

Last February, Google opened its latest offices in the Dublin docklands, inviting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to cut the ribbon on the newly-constructed 4,738 sq m (51,000 sq ft) Velasco Building directly opposite the Treasury Building.

Google's decision to buy the Bolands Quay scheme and the Treasury Building, are in keeping with its preference for owning its own premises in the area now commonly referred to as 'Googletown'.

In 2011, the company bought its European HQ on Barrow Street and the nearby Montevetro building for €100m and €99m respectively. In 2014 it secured more space on Barrow Street, paying €65m for Grand Mill Quay, an 8,965 sq m (96,500 sq ft) office building developed by Bernard McNamara prior to the crash.

Google's 7,000-strong Dublin workforce is based across a range of locations in the city's docklands and within the Sandyford Business District in south county Dublin.

Last February, the company agreed to lease 52,000 sq ft of space at the Chase Building in Sandyford from US real estate firm Kennedy Wilson, while in August 2017, it agreed to lease four floors at the nearby Blackthorn Building from Irish Life. Google maintains another of its operations at Block L at Freeman House in EastPoint Business Park.

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