Digital Hub added 18 firms to list of tenants last year
THE DIGITAL Hub added 18 companies to its list of tenants last year, bringing to 70 the number of businesses based at its Dublin 8 campus.
According to the agency’s 2011 annual report, published yesterday, the Digital Hub had 95 per cent office occupancy last year, with the companies based there employing more than 800 people.
The Digital Hub was established by the government in 2003 with the aim of fostering the State’s nascent digital media and technology industry.
Well-known digital companies such as Daft.ie, Havok, Houghton Mifflin (Riverdeep) and Amazon have rented office space at the site at various stages of their development.
The Digital Hub Development Agency, which manages the Digital Hub, was identified as one of the State bodies that may be merged with other agencies as part of the Government’s public-sector reform plans.
The 2011 annual report shows that the agency’s chief executive, Philip Flynn, was paid a base salary of €177,828 last year, while a pension contribution worth 25 per cent of base salary was also paid. In addition, he received a motor allowance of €12,000.
In total, the agency received income of €4.385 million last year, up from €4.291 million the previous year. Exchequer funding accounted for more than half of the agency’s income, with commercial income from rents totalling €1.85 million.
Mr Flynn said that, while the agency charged market rates to tenants, the entrepreneurial environment and flexible approach to contracts were key attractions for tenants.
However, he said the issue of limited space was a key challenge for the agency. “Despite the current market conditions, companies are continuing to expand, and there’s demand for larger units on campus.”
The agency recently submitted a campus development strategy to the Government, a 10-year plan that involves the private investment market.
In 2010 the agency took an impairment charge of €39.5 million on its properties. Mainly as a result of this writedown, it had an accumulated deficit of €42.2 million in 2011.
Last year was a positive year for a number of Digital Hub tenants including payByMobile, which launched in the UK, and animation company Kavaleer Productions, which recently announced the creation of 30 jobs.
As well as hosting companies, the Digital Hub has an educational remit. The educational programme includes Future Creators, an after-school scheme for 13- to 16-year-olds.