€40 million investment for Digital Hub

Work to start on student accommodation and new offices within months

 Pat Rabbitte, Edel Flynn, chief executive of Digital Hub, and Bob Crompton, Knightsbridge Student Housing. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Pat Rabbitte, Edel Flynn, chief executive of Digital Hub, and Bob Crompton, Knightsbridge Student Housing. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tue, Mar 25, 2014, 01:01

Dublin’s Digital Hub is to benefit from a €40 million investment in the construction of accommodation for almost 500 students and the development of 989sq m (10,650sq ft) of office

space.

The student accommodation will be in two new blocks up to 10 storeys high on a 1.2 acre site at Bonham Street, north of Thomas Street, in the south inner city. The office space will be in a nearby converted 19th-century grainstore.

The technology campus, set up by the government in 2003 , is “bursting at the seams” according to Digital Hub Development Agency chief executive Edel Flynn, with a waiting list of companies seeking space.

“We currently have more than 70 companies in the cluster in seven buildings which are fully occupied. We have a turnover of about 20 companies every year, with a constant demand from new enterprises seeking space.”

Work on the grainstore building is due to start in May and be completed within a year at a cost of €3.51 million. When complete it is expected to house eight to 10 new businesses.

Construction of the student apartments, which will use up the remainder of the €40 million budget, is to start in August with the first students due on campus in 2016.

Both projects are being undertaken and funded by British company Knightsbridge Student Housing, which has built student accommodation across the UK and Europe. The Digital Hub development will be the company’s first in Ireland, chief executive Bob Crompton said.

‘Perfect location’

“With 91 per cent of Dublin students not having access to student accommodation, and with so many educational institutions within five minutes walk, this is the perfect loca

tion for us. Trinity College alone say they need 5,000 rooms for students.”

The projects are expected to provide jobs for up to 300 construction workers.

Almost 900 people are employed by Digital Hub-based companies.

Over the past decade more that 170 companies have passed through the technology campus including Amazon, Distilled Media Group (Daft.ie), Havok, Houghton Mifflin (Riverdeep), Gala Networks Europe and Kavaleer. During their time at The Digital Hub, these companies generated 2,000 highly skilled jobs, the development agency said.

Speaking at an event to announce the new projects yesterday, Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said it was a “significant investment in jobs” in construction in the short term, and in the long term in technology companies which would join the campus.

“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.”