Saturday 21 September 2019

OPW agrees €6m-a-year lease deal with Hibernia for Garda HQ

Garda regional headquarters at Harcourt Square. Photo: Tony Gavin
Garda regional headquarters at Harcourt Square. Photo: Tony Gavin

Michael Cogley

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has agreed a six-year lease with Hibernia REIT to house the headquarters of An Garda Síochána, bringing a long-running dispute between the two parties to a close.

Hibernia paid €70m for the 117,000 sq ft building at Harcourt Square, which sits on a 1.9 acre site, in February of last year. The real estate investment firm intended to level the property and rebuild it more than double its existing size.

However, despite receiving planning permission for the redevelopment Hibernia agreed to renew the four leases associated with the property.

The building hosts specialist Garda units including the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, CAB, the Fraud Bureau and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Special Detective Unit.

The lease agreement, which is to commence in January 2017, will see the OPW pay €6m a year in rent, as well as a once-off €500,000 arrears payment next year.

It is understood the arrears payment is in relation to a rent uplift that will be paid retrospecitvely.

The property is made up of office accommodation, car parking, and ancillary facilities. The OPW had paid rent of €4.9m per year on the leases.

Hibernia chief executive Kevin Nowlan said the company is delighted to agree terms with the OPW.

"The new lease gives both parties certainty on the date of departure and secures near term income for Hibernia.  We will now work to optimise our plans for what will be an outstanding future development project," he said.

The Garda Representative Association welcomed the decision to extend the lease on Harcourt Square for a further six years.

"This extension removes confusion for GRA members who are based there. However, this is not a permanent solution," GRA President Ciarán O’Neill told independent.ie.

"Harcourt Square is currently the base for a wide number of national units and the recently formed Armed Support Unit also has its base there. As a result the building is becoming cramped and space is at a premium.

"The GRA understands that a new state of the art facility is proposed to house those national units in a different location. We would urge the government to continue with the development and set aside a budget for this new building to ensure Gardaí have the best possible amenities available to them and this should be done without delay."

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