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Google’s pledge of subsidised housing in Dublin for frontline staff hit with delays

Apartments to be let at reduced rents to nurses and teachers


The new Google development on the site of Boland's Mill in Dublin. Photo: Owen Breslin

The new Google development on the site of Boland's Mill in Dublin. Photo: Owen Breslin

The new Google development on the site of Boland's Mill in Dublin. Photo: Owen Breslin

Google says its plan to subsidise accommodation for non-Google workers living near its Dublin headquarters will take its next step shortly.

However, the 46 apartments being offered at reduced rent to nurses, teachers, frontline staff and other workers who struggle to afford the rents that tech employees can afford to pay, are unlikely to be ready this year.

It is understood the scheme has been delayed due to construction industry constraints.

Originally revealed by this newspaper in an interview with Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the subsidised apartments will be in Google’s Bolands Mills development at Dublin’s Grand Canal, one of Ireland’s most expensive rental areas.

Two- or three-bedroom apartments in the area typically command rents of €2,500-€4,000 per month.

Rental rates for Google’s subsidised properties are due to be set by an affordable housing body, to be chosen by Google. This body will also be responsible for managing and dealing with tenancies, including the qualification and ­eligibility process.

“We are currently in discussion with a number of approved housing bodies and we aim to appoint an affordable rental partner for the Bolands Mills apartments later this year,” a spokesperson for the tech company told the Irish Independent this week.

Eligibility criteria will favour “individuals and their families who work in jobs that are critical for the well-being of the community, such as public safety employees, nurses, teachers, and frontline service workers,” according to Google.

The tech giant has not yet begun to use Bolands Mills, despite initial construction on the buildings being completed.

In addition to the residential rental units, the new Bolands Mills is to have 40,000 sq ft of publicly accessible mixed use space, including retail, recreation and dining. There will also be 5,000 sq ft given over to community and cultural space.

The move is a gesture by the wealthy tech giant to ­lower-paid workers in the local community.

“Google’s aim is to create an environment that is reflective of the diverse nature of the Grand Canal area,” the company said in its initial formal announcement of the scheme.

Google employs 8,000 people in its Dublin headquarters, half of whom are staff.

Its personnel, which range from marketing and accounts to engineering and project managers, are among the highest-paid staff of any large Irish employer, with many at the Dublin campus earning salaries in excess of €100,000.

While creating opportunities for those working in the industry, this has added to pressure on housing costs and rents in Dublin city.

Wealthy tech companies paying high salaries now make up a large chunk of major employers in Dublin’s city centre.

Rents in prime city areas have continued to soar, despite pandemic property trends that has seen some people move out of built-up areas.

In its most recent analysis, Sherry Fitzgerald said that upward pressure on rents would continue, as small investors leave the market.

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