Google Docks: Internet giant buys up Bolands Quay

18 May 2018

The Grand Canal Docks area of Dublin, also known as Silicon Docks, with the Google EMEA HQ building rising up in the background. Image: anyaivanova/Shutterstock

Acquisition of a ‘quay’ part of Silicon Docks estimated at around €170m.

Google has completed the acquisition of the iconic Bolands Quay site in Dublin’s Silicon Docks in a deal reportedly estimated to be worth €170m.

Mark Reynolds of Savills, the NAMA-appointed receiver to the Bolands Quay development project, today (18 May) announced the sale of the entire of Bolands Quay to Google.

‘With this investment, Google is ensuring we have the space to continue to grow our EMEA HQ operations into the future’

Bolands Quay will be linked to Google’s EMEA HQ on Barrow Street via walking routes through the site.

The development will also include a new pedestrian bridge and two civic plazas with water frontage to Grand Canal Dock.

The historic buildings on the site, dating from the 1830s, will be sympathetically restored and their heritage preserved, adding to the architectural uniqueness of the development.

Baile Google

The development comes as Google’s headcount in the city surges beyond 7,000 permanent and contract staff.

We recently reported that Google is also expanding its data centre infrastructure in Ireland as part of a €150m investment that will create 400 jobs at peak construction.

It is understood that so far, Google’s total capital investment since it came to Dublin in 2003 stands at €1bn.

“We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Bolands Quay,” said vice-president and head of Google in Ireland, Fionnuala Meehan.

“Google was the first multinational company to establish operations on Barrow Street in 2005 and it is fantastic to see how the area has developed since then. With this investment, Google is ensuring we have the space to continue to grow our EMEA HQ operations into the future.

“This is a really exciting time for Google and follows on from our recently announced investments in Velasco and in our data centre in Grange Castle South,” Meehan said.

The development is one of the largest urban regeneration projects to have been undertaken within Dublin city centre in recent years.

Designed by Dublin architect firm Burke Kennedy Doyle with engineering input from Arup, Bolands Quay will comprise 28,000 sq m of office space, 46 apartments, cafés and cultural space.

“This is a very important addition to our office portfolio in Dublin, and the standard of finish in the development is a tribute to the architects, construction companies, the receiver, Savills and NAMA,” said Joe Borrett, director of real estate and construction at Google EMEA.

“We are looking forward to creating vibrant new civic spaces and retail amenities for our neighbours around Barrow Street to enjoy.”

Google will retain the office accommodation for its own use and will appoint a commercial letting agent to manage the letting of the remaining commercial premises and apartments.

The development will include three new landmark buildings, one rising to 53 metres (173ft), another to 49 metres (161ft) and a third to 47.8 metres (157ft). BAM is the main contractor and the scheme is set for completion on a phased basis from Q2 2019.

“Securing the sale of the entire campus to one owner occupier has significantly derisked the project and has justified the decision to build out the entire scheme,” said Reynolds.

“The sale allows the team to focus on delivering this magnificent new development, in a smooth and timely fashion, in conjunction with the new owner, Google. The vision set out for Bolands Quay is now becoming a reality and the sale reinforces the quality of the planning permission secured, and design credentials of the project. Also, credit must be given to Dublin City Council as planning authority on delivering an SDZ planning scheme that works.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years