TikTok opts out of planned Dublin docklands office deal

Social media company had agreed heads of terms to rent 16,443 sq m Marlet Property Group’s Shipping Office scheme

TikTok has pulled out of talks to rent 16,443 sq m (177,000 sq ft) of space at a major office scheme in Dublin’s docklands.

The Irish Times reported in March that the Chinese-headquartered social media company had agreed the heads of terms of an agreement to rent the space at Marlet Property Group’s Shipping Office development on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay as part of a major expansion of its footprint in the capital.

No lease had been signed and talks have been ongoing but industry sources said TikTok has notified Marlet in recent the days that it does not intend to move ahead with the plans and the property has now been put back on the market.

It is not clear why TikTok has pressed the pause button on the discussions. However, the company in July announced a global restructuring plan — which tech news magazine Wired reported would include job losses in Europe, the US and the UK — amid heightened anxiety around the global economic outlook, which has buffeted the tech sector in 2022.

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TikTok declined to comment. However, a spokesman said the ByteDance-owned social media platform said it will proceed with plans to add 1,000 jobs at its Dublin operation this year, increasing its Irish headcount to more than 3,000.

To accommodate the new staff, TikTok signed a deal at the end of last November to rent the entire 19,509 sq m (210,000 sq ft) Sorting Office building from Mapletree on the basis of a 15-year lease with 10 years’ term certain and a rent-free period of about 18 months.

TikTok also agreed the heads of terms of an agreement to rent 7,432 sq m (80,000 sq ft) available at Iput’s Tropical Fruit Warehouse in Dublin’s south docklands, bringing its total Dublin footprint to a combined 42,642 sq m (459,000 sq ft) across the three buildings. Despite pulling out of the Shipping Office deal, TikTok is expected to proceed with plans to sign the Tropical Fruit Warehouse lease, industry sources said.

The spokesman said TikTok is also “looking forward” to moving to its new headquarters at the Sorting Office, which industry sources said the company is yet to fit out.

It comes just weeks after The Sunday Times reported that Facebook-owner Meta is to pause its fit-out of part of the Fibonacci Square scheme in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Twitter also recently announced plans to scale back its office presence in Dublin in a bid to cut costs. The social media giant will reduce the size of its European headquarters at 1 Cumberland Street in Dublin 2 where it occupies four floors, by looking to lease out one of the floors to a new tenant.

The company may close its office in Sydney and is considering plans to shutter several other offices once leases expire, including those in Seoul; Wellington, New Zealand; Osaka; Madrid; Hamburg; and Utrecht in the Netherlands, according to a memo sent to staff in late July.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times