Digital Hub signs €118m property deal

22 Nov 2005

The winning bids in a tender process for the development of two sites of 5.6 acres located either side of Thomas Street in the Liberties have been announced as part of a deal that will see two property development firms provide the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources with a combination of cash and high-quality offices to accommodate the Digital Hub.

Manor Park Homebuilders emerged as the successful tenderer for the Crane Street site while P Elliot & Co was the successful tenderer for the Windmill (Thomas Street) site. The tenders were be required to make a planning application within six months and on receipt of planning construct the office space offered.

The acceptance of the tenders was approved by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey TD. The Minister said: “This is an enormous opportunity for the surrounding Liberties area. The Digital Hub will act as a driver for the on-going social and economic regeneration of the entire area and the development of a digital content industry cluster in the hub.”

The break down of the tenders means that the hub will receive more than 13,000 square metres (140,000 sq ft) of office space.

The office space will facilitate the future expansion of the hub by accommodating digital media enterprises. Some 50 digital media companies are already based at the hub, employing 500 people.

Emphasising the importance of the digital media sector to Ireland, Minister Dempsey said: “The global market could be worth more than US$400bn in the next few years.”

An architectural development guide was prepared for the lands on behalf of the Digital Hub Development Agency and the Office of Public Works providing an architectural vision for the development of the lands. The guide suggests mixed-use developments on each site for apartments, digital media offices, retail and public spaces totalling circa 60,000sq m (650,000sq ft) in a mix of new and refurbished buildings.

The selling agent, Nicholas Corson of Finnegan Menton, commented: “This is the first time that such an innovative approach has been used in a sale of State lands. We received excellent interest from the market and received very strong competitive bidding for the lands. These are hugely important City Centre sites their development will make a dramatic impact to this area of the city and should create a vibrant new quarter.”

By John Kennedy