Short-term future secured for tenants of Dublin’s Digital Hub

9 Nov 2021

DHDA CEO Fiach Mac Conghail with Digital Hub artist in residence Seoidín O’Sullivan. Image: Shane O’Neill/Coalesce

The Digital Hub campus in Dublin’s Liberties has secured a stay of execution while plans for the site’s future are worked out.

An agreement has been reached between the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) and the Government that will see the Dublin campus remain open to digital and media businesses beyond June 2022, pending a redevelopment.

This follows a decision in April to dissolve the State agency that manages the Digital Hub campus and transfer its assets to the Land Development Agency (LDA).

Future Human

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD, said this extension will facilitate an “orderly wind-down” of the DHDA while future plans for the 5.6-acre site are mapped out.

The DHDA and LDA have been working together since 2019 and agreed a memorandum of understanding in 2020 on how to cooperate on plans for redevelopment of the site, which is based in the historic Liberties area of central Dublin.

“The Government remains committed to the regeneration of the Liberties area of Dublin,” said Ryan. “This arrangement will assist the LDA to deliver a transformative project for the area that is supportive of the Government’s Housing for All strategy.”

Ryan added that the major redevelopment envisaged for the site will take a number of years to plan and implement.

Until then, the Digital Hub campus will remain open and continue supporting resident entrepreneurs and small businesses from the tech and creative sectors. New and flexible leases will also be available for potential new tenants in the short-term period.

The DHDA told The Irish Times it expected to be hosting tenant companies until at least 2025. At the time of the April announcement, the campus was home to about 30 companies including pioneering robotics team Akara Robotics. These businesses now have some certainty about the site’s future.

“We can continue to support our companies and entrepreneurs in developing solutions to solve societal challenges,” said DHDA CEO Fiach Mac Conghail. “This is a sensible approach that will ensure space isn’t lying vacant whilst the long-term masterplan for the future of the site is developed.”

Existing community, learning and social programmes at the Digital Hub will also continue as planned to 2022. This includes digital literacy initiatives and after-school STEM and creative programmes for the local community.

Mac Conghail said that these programmes “provide vital support in areas like digital literacy and creative thinking, particularly for young people and older residents of Dublin 8”.

Mac Conghail is also expected to contribute to the future plans for the Digital Hub site, and in this position he will push for “developing a sustainable and creative urban quarter in the heart of the Liberties”.

More than 400 companies have passed through the Digital Hub since it was established in 2003. These include some top-flight names in tech including Amazon, Stripe, Slack, Havok and Etsy.

Disclosure: Silicon Republic is a previous tenant of the Digital Hub.

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Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic