Taking office: what’s going on in the commercial sector

by | Oct 14, 2021

Tom Moloney, Managing Director of Construction Information Services (CIS), takes a look at the activity going on in the area of office developments and the commercial sector

The negative effects of Covid-19 have continued to weigh on take-up of office space and it is unsurprising that the occupier market has struggled to gain momentum in the first half of the year. Office starts in the Republic of Ireland in Q2 2021 rose by nearly 300 per cent in value to €418million over Q2 2020.

Although this upsurge in activity could be attributed to the erratic nature of development during the pandemic, the figures also hold up well when compared to the average quarterly figures for starts in
2020 (up by 144 per cent) and 2019 (up by 120 per cent).

There were 66 new starts in the quarter. The five largest projects accounted for €335million of investment and are located in Dublin (two projects), Cork, Westmeath and Wicklow.

With many firms now looking at different combinations of working from home and in the office for its staff, the following projects will highlight what is currently going on at different stages of the construction cycle.

€147m – Mixed Use Development, North Business Park, Tuam Road, Galway City,

Plans submitted

A planning application has been lodged with Cork City Council for the conservation, refurbishment, alteration and change of use of an existing structure on Grand Parade. This includes the partial demolition of original and non-original fabric and the construction of a mixed-use office and retail development with primary access from Grand Parade with service ancillary access from Saint Augustine Street.

The proposed development, designed by O’Mahony Pike, consists of the construction of a part 3, part 4, part 6 and part 7 storey office block compromising nearly 10,000 square metres. The retail element comprises a total of 122 square metres of comparison retail space fronting onto Grand Parade.

The proposed office space will be designed to be suitable for a single user or multiple users with subdivisions. A planning decision is expected before year end.

€20m – Mixed Use Building, Chatham House, Chatham Street, Dublin 2

Plans granted

A decision to grant planning permission was issued by Galway City Council on August 11 to Strategic Land Investments Limited for a development which will consist of a mixed-use scheme with an overall gross floor area (gfa) of approximately 97,936 square metres on a site of circa 6.81 hectares at the Galway City North Business Park.

The development for Strategic Land Development Limited is arranged across 13 development blocks (a-m) ranging in height from two to eight storeys with associated ground level and basement level car parking.

An appeal has subsequently been lodged against the approval with a decision due in late 2021. On August 31, An Bord Pleanala upheld Dublin City Council’s decision to grant planning permission to the GA Development Fund for a 10-year full planning permission for a mixed-use development at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Kevin Street lower, Dublin 8.

The development includes 53,110 square metre of commercial office floorspace in blocks a, b and c and 21,669 square metres of residential accommodation in blocks d and e, providing a total of 299 build to rent residential units (130 no. studios, 130 no. 1-bed units, and 39 no. 2-bed units) and residential support and amenity facilities.

The proposal includes one creche facility, one cafe/restaurant unit and a double height exhibition space extension to the rear of Kevin Street library. The total gfa, including lower ground/ basement levels, of the proposed development is 85,436 square metres.

On site

Works have commenced on site on the demolition of the existing three storey over basement building on the site and the construction of a 3,005 square metre (gfa) six storey over basement mixed use building comprising an interactive multimedia exhibition area with associated offices, toilets and storage areas, plant areas, cycle parking and bin storage areas in the basement at a site at Chatham House, Dublin 2.

Work is expected to take in the region of 24 months to complete. The project for Lioncor will be known as House of Europe upon completion.

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