Guest post by Mark Pollard, Development Director at Hibernia REIT. For more information on Hibernia’s portfolio of offices visit www.hiberniareit.com
With space in Dublin’s Docklands at a premium, one property investor is committed to giving technology companies the solution they need.
Dublin’s docklands have fast become the heart of the tech industry in Ireland. First it was Google, then Facebook, and now the rapidly regenerating area is the firm favourite of tech companies big and small, all looking to be part of the closely knit community that is making Dublin such a hub for tech talent.
One challenge fast growing tech companies face is finding the right kind of office space, and being able to create a home for employees who have become used to the most elaborate of office spaces and highest quality of facilities.
As Development Director at property company Hibernia REIT, I work as part of a team that is redeveloping one of Dublin City centre’s most iconic neighbourhoods, and opening the area up to provide more space to live and work on the banks of the Liffey. Since listing in 2013 we have built up a portfolio of over 900,000 square feet of space valued at over €1bn.
The “SOBO” district – or South of Beckett and O’Casey bridges, due to its location between these two bridges on the south side of the River Liffey – is our most ambitious project to date. SOBO, a 450,000 sq. ft. campus is centred on the historic Windmill Lane, which has been a commercial hub for centuries. More recently in the 20th century, it was home to the famous Windmill Lane music studios where artists such as U2, Van Morrison, and Elvis Costello have recorded.
A computer generated image of the 1 Windmill Lane building and the new streetscape
Four buildings will be at the heart of the SOBO district: 1 Windmill Lane (providing 122,000 sq. ft. of new office space in 2017); the river-fronting 1 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay (providing 112,000 sq. ft. of office space in mid-2018); 2 Windmill Lane (providing 60,000 sq. ft. of fully refurbished office space); and The Observatory (an 86,000 sq.ft office facing the River Liffey).
High quality office space in Dublin’s city centre is in short supply and the projects we are working on at 1 Windmill Lane and 1 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay are going to provide some of the city’s most modern and exciting office accommodation. We think technology companies already with operations in Ireland, and also companies who are considering moving here will definitely be interested in what SOBO will have to offer.
When we speak to potential technology tenants they tell us that having a prime location within or close to Dublin’s tech hub, but also with excellent public transport and proximity to the city centre, is a key consideration. We’ve already made that happen for several well-known technology names like Twitter and HubSpot, and as these new buildings come to market I hope we will be working with other successful technology companies.
Just in recent days, Hibernia announced that it has pre-let two floors in 1 Windmill Lane to Informatica, a global leader in data integration services headquartered in the United States. Informatica will occupy the fourth and fifth floors of 1WML, totalling 35,000 sq. ft.
The four buildings of the SOBO district will be located around the refashioned Windmill Lane with cafes and a gym, as well as SOBO Works, a highly modern, flexible, 11,000 sq. ft. co-working space. Hibernia partnered with Iconic Offices, a leading Dublin-based flexible workspace provider to establish SOBO Works, which is now home to a range of exciting technology companies including Twilio and Explosion Media. Hibernia has now extended its partnership with Iconic Offices to establish another serviced office and co-working business which will occupy space in Clanwilliam Court in Dublin 2 – this will be called The Brickhouse and is set to open in April 2017.
The Brickhouse joint venture is due to open in April 2017
In the construction of the 450,000 sq. ft. SOBO campus, Hibernia prioritised the creation of open, bright, and interactive working environments with shared facilities, where staff can enjoy amenities at their fingertips, and businesses have the facilities to grow and succeed. This flexibility to accommodate growing tech companies, is recognition of the fact that today’s 10 person start-up could be tomorrow’s 500-strong company requiring 50,000 sq. ft of new space.
With almost 8,000 sq.ft. of terraces and courtyards, and a 6,415 sq.ft. state of the art Townhall space with 9m high ceilings, 1 Windmill Lane offers creative, collaborative space and flexibility, recognising the way companies now work.
The campus also incorporates the old with the new, not least in the retention of the impressive original Dublin Tramway brick façade at the entranceway of 1 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, leading into a 24-metre high atrium.
A computer generated image of 1 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay viewed from the IFSC
In the IFSC Hibernia has leased 27,500 sq. ft. of its recently refurbished One Dockland Central to HubSpot, a leading provider of inbound marketing and sales software. Now that Hubspot is expanding, it is taking a further 16,000 sq. ft. in the adjoining Two Dockland Central, with Hibernia able to adapt its plans and layout to suit HubSpot’s needs.
The recently renovated One Dockland Central, home to Hubspot and Comreg
Hibernia’s riverside development sites will play a key role in ensuring that ambitious, fast growing companies have space to grow and succeed in the city centre. The company has already established a successful track record of doing just that in other locations around the city centre, with social media giant Twitter and travel tech firm Travelport occupying a total of 129,000 sq. ft. in the extensively redeveloped Cumberland House in Dublin 2. A once drab 1970s office building has been remodelled into one of the finest tech offices in the city, complete with full DJ booth in Twitter’s Commons Room.
Twitter’s HQ in Ireland at the newly renovated 1 Cumberland Place
Hibernia’s message to technology companies is that we want to be able to grow with you. Whether you are a small start-up in Sobo Works, or a major player like Twitter at Cumberland Place, we want to be able to have a conversation about your needs and how we can help.
Mark Pollard is Development Director at Hibernia REIT. For more information on Hibernia’s portfolio of offices visit www.hiberniareit.com