Amazon and Facebook possible rivals for AIB Ballsbridge site

AIB relocation from Bankcentre HQ makes vast site an attractive rental for tech giants

AIB Bankcentre at Ballsbridge: 450,000sq ft of space may lure US multinationals in Dublin seeking to expand. Photograph: Eric Luke

AIB Bankcentre at Ballsbridge: 450,000sq ft of space may lure US multinationals in Dublin seeking to expand. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Amazon is understood to be among the chief rivals to Facebook to rent AIB’s current headquarters in Ballsbridge.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday evening that Facebook was in talks to gradually take on up to 450,000sq ft of space at AIB’s sprawling Bankcentre campus, from which the bank is set to move.

The Bloomberg report suggested that other locations were still under consideration by Facebook, however, and that an agreement may not be reached.

However, it is understood from a number of sources that Amazon, which has been on the lookout for new office space in Dublin since late last year, has also examined moving to the Ballsbridge campus.

A UK-based spokeswoman for Amazon had not yet responded to a request for comment prior to publication.

Facebook told Bloomberg that “our Irish operations will be growing with hundreds more jobs across all our teams”.

“To best facilitate this and future growth, we’re looking at various expansion options,” it reportedly said.

In a statement to The Irish Times last night, AIB said it had concluded agreements to acquire additional office space in Leopardstown, which would be ready this year, and also in the city centre at Molesworth Street, which would be ready to move into in 2019.

‘Property options’

“As part of normal operations, we continually review our property options . . . [but] no other property agreements [apart from the two mentioned] have been signed concerning our Dublin estate,” said the bank.

Dublin is home to the international headquarters of some of the largest US web companies, many of whom have been actively scouring the city for office space as their operations here expand.

The Bankcentre site is located reasonably close to the docklands area of the city favoured by tech multinationals.

Amazon has close to 1,400 staff in the city, and in 2016 it announced plans to recruit a further 500 Irish-based staff. Bloomberg separately reported last September that Amazon was at that time seeking further office space for 800 staff.

Facebook, meanwhile, is on a fast track to bringing its Dublin employee numbers up to more than 3,500, almost double its current level.

Google, which employs more than 6,000 staff in the city, has been in the market recently to purchase office blocks in the docklands area for further expansion. Among other web companies to recently announce growth in Dublin is messaging service Slack, which employs about 180 and has reportedly said it may eventually triple the scale of its Dublin operation.