Property developers bid for Digital Hub project

25 Nov 2003

Three consortiums have bid to develop the seven-acre site within the Digital Hub in Dublin’s Liberties area.

The three bids came from Hub Developments (Dublin) Ltd, Manor Park Digital Hub Ltd, and a consortium of Pierse Contracting Ltd and Earlsfort Centre Developments.

It is understood that four consortiums were invited to proceed to the tender and negotiation stage for the development of the Digital Hub Project following a short-listing stage. Each consortium comprises developers, shareholders, architects, a design team and technical advisors.

According to Philip Flynn, chief executive of the Digital Hub Development Agency, the competing developers are working from a brief to create an International Digital Enterprise Area in Dublin through a development design proposal that demonstrates innovation and sustainability in an economical, social and environmental context. Proposals will include a mix of business, residential, retail and academic institutions within the seven acres.

The bidding process for the project began in January this year and the three bids will be evaluated over the next month. The preferred bidder will be nominated by the Digital Hub in January and the contract will be awarded and a planning application will be lodged with Dublin City Council in April or May next year.

The first phase of the Digital Hub project is already under way, with 12 companies already located within the Hub, employing some 250 people.

The aim of establishing the Digital Hub is to create a cluster of like-minded companies to establish a beachhead for Ireland’s own digital media industry. A PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast issued earlier this year estimated the global digital media industry to be currently worth €80bn, set to grow to €460bn by 2006. As well as clustering opportunities, the Digital Hub has access to its own high-speed broadband metropolitan area network.

When the Digital Hub is complete, it will feature approximately 500,000 sq ft of development, with a mix of enterprise, retail, residential and educational space. Funding for the hub is structured under a public private partnership scheme.

In December it was announced that Duggan Brothers Ltd was appointed as the main contractor for the redevelopment of the print depot building. This particular project is a joint venture between the Digital Hub, Dublin City Council and Enterprise Ireland, which will invest €2.3m in the former Guinness print depot building.

The Digital Hub was first created as a government initiative aimed at fostering a digital media sector in Ireland. The total estimated cost of the investment is €250m, of which the Government has already committed €130m under the remit of the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.

By John Kennedy