In this article which featured in the CIF Construction Magazine, CIS has focused on the Industrial and Commercial Sectors which have received the bulk of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in recent years. 

The last five years in particular, has witnessed a proliferation of large data centre construction in Ireland by major foreign companies. Most notably, in 2016, Facebook commenced work on their ambitious Clonee data centre in Co. Meath. This €200 million development will be supplied by 100% renewable wind energy utilising the Irish climate to create an innovative approach to data storage.  Ireland’s temperate oceanic climate of is a big attraction for foreign technology companies setting up storage here. Data centres create a vast amount of heat, in order to house an efficient data centre a climate like Ireland’s is preferable over locations like California or mainland Europe which can be subject to heatwaves.

One of the most contentious issues on the geopolitical landscape in the last decade has been that of privacy in relation to internet use. This year, Microsoft benefited from a ruling by a United States appellate court which ruled that the United States Government could not force Microsoft to hand over customer emails stored on servers in Ireland. The unique Irish data laws make Ireland an attractive prospect for setting up shop in as they can offer assurances to customers that their privacy can be maintained through Irish data laws.

Apple Data Centre

This combination of climate and data security has spurred on construction of data centres around the country with Apple’s €850 million data centre development near Athenry, Co. Galway receiving final approval from An Bord Pleanála in August 2016. Works are expected to commence On-Site by the end of 2016 and should create up to 600 jobs in the construction industry, with a further 50 jobs for Apple employees once the centre becomes operational.

Below is a table of On-Site and planned data centres by Microsoft at Grange Castle Business Park Clondalkin, Co. Dublin. There are pre-plans for a further four data centres designated for the Clondalkin site in the coming years which will amount up to €890 million investment by Microsoft to scale up their operations in Ireland.

Microsoft Data Centre

Project Title

Planning Stage

€30m Data Centre

On-Site

€380m Data Centre

On-Site

€70m Data Centre

On-Site

€280m – 2 Data Centres

Plans Granted

Amazon also commenced works on their new data centre at the Former Jacobs Biscuit site on the Belgard Road in Dublin 24. This €100 million data centre solidifies the company’s presence in Ireland with offices being created in Cork and Dublin to house new operations for the large multi-national company. 

Activity in the Commercial Sector has continued to grow strongly month on month in Ireland, primarily in Dublin. The demand for high quality office buildings is on the rise and Ireland is seen as an attractive option for foreign companies to relocate or expand their operations into and for overseas investors looking for a high return on investment. This is a result of many outlying factors. These include an open economy located within the European Union, an established business location, competitive tax rates, transparent markets, a young and highly educated workforce and favourable flight access to Europe and beyond. Dublin is currently home to some of the world’s largest corporate firms including Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Workday, Air BnB, Amazon and many global financial and legal firms.

The pipeline for development of new Grade A office accommodation has seen an increase in planning applications and this will continue to rise in the coming years to cope with demand. To testify this, Construction Information Services (CIS) currently has over €1 billion worth of office building schemes across the country, either at a planning or a later construction stage on their database.

 Project Wave

Examples of planned Grade A office developments in Dublin can be seen in the table below:

Project Title

Promotor

Location

Commercial Space

Project Stage

€45m Mix-Use  Office Development

U+I Investments

Donnybrook, Dublin

5,000 sq.m. over 4 storeys

Plans Granted

€47m Office Development

Ardstone Capital

Sandyford, Dublin

27,751sq.m. over 6 storeys

Plans Granted

€55m Office Development

Wexele Limited

Sandyford, Dublin

21,099 sq.m. over 6 storeys

Plans Granted

€110m Office Development – Blocks A and B

Kennedy Wilson

Sir John Rogersons Quay, Dublin

25,227 sq m over 8 Storeys

On-Site

€30m Office Development

IPUT Management Services Limited

Molesworth Street, Dublin

13,000 sq.m. of over 5 storeys

On-Site

€22m Office development

Green REIT

4-5 Harcourt Road, Dublin

7,000 sq.m. over 8 storeys

On-Site

€111 million office Development – Block D

Ballymore Group and Oxley Holdings

North Wall Quay, Dublin

60,000 sq.m. over 9 and 7 storeys

On-Site

Outside of Dublin, plans have been approved for an €8 million office development for Shannon Commercial Properties in Shannon, Co. Clare. The development calls for the provision of a 4 storey building consisting of over 5,000 sq.m. of office space. Tenders are currently being sought from contractors, with work expected to start later this year and be completed in late 2017.

In Cork, Apple Operations Europe has received a favourable planning decision for a large scale extension consisting of an additional 15,000 sq.m. of office space at their premises in the Holyhill Industrial Estate outside of Cork City, as they look to consolidate their presence in Ireland.