Brexit movers underpin record demand for offices

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Brexit movers underpin record demand for offices


Expansion: An artist’s impression of Facebook’s new Ballsbridge offices. The company also let 16,000 sq m (172,000 sq ft) at Nova Atria South in the first quarter of 2019
Expansion: An artist’s impression of Facebook’s new Ballsbridge offices. The company also let 16,000 sq m (172,000 sq ft) at Nova Atria South in the first quarter of 2019

Dublin’s office market set another new record in the first quarter of this year with occupiers taking 1.4m sq ft (130,000 sq m) which was almost double (85pc) ahead of the corresponding period of 2018. Knight Frank points out that the first quarter of last year had itself set a new record for Q1 activity.

Their competitors BNP Paribas Real Estate (BNPPRE) point out that when other quarters of the year are taken into account, Q1 2019 was “the third strongest quarter on record”. BNPPRE counted 133,306 sq m (1,434,894 sq ft) across 57 deals as a number of large lettings drove a bumper start to the year.

BNPPRE says rapid expansion of multinational tech companies saw the TMT sector account for more than 75,000 sq m (807,000 sq ft) in Q1 representing 57pc of take-up. The largest letting of the quarter involved Salesforce agreeing to pre-let more than 43,000 sq m (463,000 sq ft) at Spencer Place. In addition Facebook took almost 16,000 sq m (172,000 sq ft) at Nova Atria South, Sandyford and DocuSign took 9,163 sq m (98,630 sq ft) at 5 Hanover Quay.

Knight Frank says the state sector was the second most active and accounted for 32pc of the market. The second largest deal saw the Irish Central Bank purchase 4 and 5 Dublin Landings which together extend to 18,674 sq m (201,000 sq ft) in North Docklands. Located directly to the rear of the Central Bank’s headquarters, the acquisition allows its consolidation to one location.

Declan O’Reilly, director, Knight Frank, said: “With the NTMA having previously leased No.1 Dublin Landings, the area will represent the heart of the State’s financial sector.”

The State also secured the third largest deal with OPW pre-letting 16,900 sq m (181,910 sq ft) at The Distillers Building in Smithfield, with completion due in 2021. The OPW also took space at Bishops Square, where they have leased 4,366 sq m (47,000 sq ft).

Other deals included Zurich’s taking of 1,719 sq m (18,503 sq ft) at Friends First’s Trident House in Blackrock.

Kate Ryan, head of research at BNPPRE says Brexit is also having an impact with more than 70 companies announcing plans to move to or expand within Dublin since the 2016 vote.

“We estimate that more than 28,500 sq m (306,771 sq ft) has been leased to these firms including JP Morgan, Aptiv, Coinbase and Bank of America,” she adds.

In Q1 2019 US bond ratings agency Kroll opened its first Irish office and new EU headquarters at 6-8 College Green with plans to create 100 jobs in Dublin. Other recent new entrants include Berkshire Hathaway and US law firm Tully Rinckey. The current tech boom in Dublin is expected to be in some way linked to Brexit with US multinationals expanding in Ireland rather than in the UK with a view to retaining access to European markets.

Keith O’Neill, head of office agency at BNPPRE, says a number of other Brexit movers including Chaucer, DLA Piper, Baillie Gifford and Hermes Investment Management are currently operating out of serviced offices across the city.

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