In a €40m deal, the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) has secured new enterprise office space and a student accommodation development for The Liberties area in Dublin City.
The project is expected to create up to 300 jobs in construction in the short term, and will result in the creation of an additional 10,650 sq feet of enterprise office space at the Digital Hub, as well as a housing development for 470 students on Bonham Street in Dublin 8.
Knightsbridge Student Housing Ltd will invest substantially in this development, which will see the development of both the grainstore building and student accommodation.
“Currently, the Digital Hub campus has high occupancy, so it is great that new office space will be available soon to cater for the ongoing demand we experience for space from growing digital enterprises,” Digital Hub CEO Edel Flynn explained.
“The refurbishment will preserve the grainstore building into the future and will provide digital companies with the opportunity to locate their office space in a unique setting. We look forward to welcoming more companies into our vibrant cluster of over 70 enterprises.”
Currently, 900 people are employed at the Digital Hub and more than 170 scaling digital companies have been based there since it first opened. More than 2,000 jobs have been created in the Irish economy by the various companies.
Talent meets entrepreneurship
Under the terms of the project, Knightsbridge Student Housing Ltd acquired a 1.19-acre site for the provision of student accommodation. Work on the student housing development is expected to begin in August of this year, and it is hoped the first students will be in residence by September 2016. Knightsbridge will develop the student housing, which will consist of 125,000 sq feet catering to almost 500 third-level students.
As part of the project, Knightsbridge will also refurbish a 19th-century grainstore building on the Digital Hub campus. It is believed the building was originally part of the historic Marshalsea debtors’ prison located in The Liberties. It subsequently served as a grainstore for the Roe Distillery. Work on the refurbishment will start in May, and is expected to be complete within a year.
“Although we have a strong presence in four European markets, this development is our first entry into the Irish higher-education sector, so it is a really exciting move for us,” said Knightsbridge CEO Bob Crompton.
“Our aim is to provide high quality, service-led student accommodation, and we believe Dublin 8 provides a perfect location for that. It makes good sense to locate student housing close to a project such as The Digital Hub, where growing enterprises are constantly on the lookout for new talent.”
The development has been welcomed by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD. “The property investment announced today is excellent news, both for The Digital Hub and the wider Liberties, and I look forward to seeing the renewed energy that both young students and digital entrepreneurs will bring to the area.
“It should come as no surprise that it is the Digital Hub that is behind a project that is startling in its innovation and efficiency.
“I sincerely congratulate the DHDA on negotiating this deal, which will revitalise the area. The 300 construction jobs and digital enterprises supported will contribute to the economic sustainability and the regeneration of The Liberties, one of the most iconic and historically important areas of Dublin.”