15 Feb 2019 | 12.28 pm
The New Office Boom On Dawson Street
Luas Cross City is a big draw says Kenneth Rouse
15 Feb 2019 | 12.28 pm
While Dublin’s beautiful Georgian houses and squares have long provided prestige business addresses, the new kids on the D2 block offer both style and substance, writes Kenneth Rouse
There has been considerable office redevelopment on Dawson Street and Molesworth Street in the last three years, totally transforming this central commercial and administrative district.
The vibrant contemporary feel marries well with Dublin’s Georgian architectural heritage, as four major office developments on Molesworth Street alone, since the crash, have delivered a total of 25,000 sq m of prime office space to the area.
The new office developments were developed by investment vehicles IPUT and Green REIT, and are perfectly at home in their historic surrounds. Yet all are completely modern buildings with the very latest office technology and sustainable accreditations.
With all the office blocks now fully let to blue-chip tenants such as Barclays, Goshawk Aviation, Jet.com, Maples FS and Standard Chartered, around 2,500 new employees have been added to Dawson Street/Molesworth Street since 2018.
Canadian bank subsidiary TD Securities broke office rent records on Dawson Street in 2018 when it agreed to lease the penthouse floor at One Molesworth Street, extending to 950 sq m, for €753 per sq m (€70 per sq ft) per annum.
The Luas Effect
The Luas effect on Dawson Street has had a significant positive impact on both retail and office developments in the area. Dublin City Council continues to campaign to get people out of private cars and onto public transport, and car parking ratios for new office developments have more than halved in the last 10 to 15 years.
Now HR managers in large corporates focus on highly connected areas for their businesses, where all modes of public transport are accessible in less than 10 minutes’ walk for employees.
The Luas Cross City line has been helpful in connecting commuters north and south of the river Liffey. Having the Luas Cross City on Dawson Street has given the street and immediate area an international dimension, while improving accessibility, which appeals to corporate occupiers.
This connectivity has strongly added to what is now regarded as ‘super prime’ in terms of office location, with the significant motivation of attracting employees.
While prestigious, St Stephens Green as an office location is lagging behind these newer locations, custom designed to meet modern office needs. Plans are afoot to redevelop Irish Life’s Stephens Court, formerly occupied by Anglo Irish Bank, while construction is due to start this year on 70 St Stephens Green, beside the former Department of Justice.
Office functionality is much more significant, as new ways of working evolve. Davy Stockbrokers, located on Dawson Street for over 90 years, is in expansion mode. It recently sub-let space from Jet.com at the newly refurbished 40 Molesworth Street, directly opposite its old offices. It will be interesting to see, over the next few years, if Davy continues to expand and looks for a new HQ building on Dawson Street, or to grow into neighbouring buildings if they become available.
Goshawk Aviation, which leased the fourth floor at One Molesworth in 2018, is already seeking expansion space on Dawson Street and its immediate environs. This could be challenging, as all Grade A buildings on the street are fully occupied.
One of our clients, the biotech startup Nuritas founded by Dr Nora Khaldi, agreed a lease on Joshua House, beside the Mansion House, in 2018. The decision to move was driven by the high amenity value and superb transport links, which has supported the goal to attract and retain talent.
Super Prime Pipeline
And the lure of the D2 super prime continues. This year will see further office redevelopment on Dawson Street, where work has started on the Meyer Bergman/BCP-owned development at the corner of Dawson and Nassau Street. This landmark mixed-use development will see more than 11,000 sq m of office space delivered alongside 7,700 sq m of retail space.
Collaborative workspace provider WeWork is also in talks to lease the former New Ireland Assurance headquarters on Dawson Street, due to be refurbished and extended by Irish developer Oakmount. Oakmount’s Dawson Street project will, if permitted, extend to over 9,000 sq m to include a restaurant at ground floor level.
Oakmount’s sister company, Press Up Entertainment Group, will likely lease the restaurant unit to add to its ever-expanding collection of eateries, including its latest offering, Isabelle’s, located across the street at Royal Hibernian Way and South Anne Street.
• Kenneth Rouse is managing director and head of investment at BNP Paribas Real Estate Ireland. Rouse has been involved in over €750m of commercial transactions, with clients including Aviva Investors / Friends First, Irish Life, Eir, Klepierre, Cheung Kong, State Street Global Advisors and Corum Asset Management.