B of I to rent former Fás headquarters once set for Twitter

Twitter deal with US firm Kennedy Wilson reportedly unravelled

Plans by Twitter to move its European headquarters to a building at Upper Baggot Street in Dublin 4 have had to be dropped following a legal hiccup between company advisers and those representing the American owners.

Instead, the office block will be leased to Bank of Ireland.

The microblogging company had intended to relocate its 200-strong staff from the Academy Building on Pearse Street to the former FÁS headquarters.

The block is due to be refurbished and extended by its owners, the large US investment firm Kennedy Wilson.


Twitter’s property agent had begun negotiations last summer to lease the entire 12,077sq m (130,000sq ft) of space, and had apparently agreed a rent of €430 per sq m (€40 per sq ft). Neither side will say why the deal fell out of bed, but informed sources suggest that in the customary follow-up discussions, the two sides failed to reach agreement on a number of legal issues relating to the letting.

Unexpected turn

The disagreement later took an unexpected turn when Bank of Ireland opened negotiations with Kennedy Wilson and promptly agreed to rent the extended building at about €505 per sq m (€47 per sq ft).

The bank’s swift move to acquire the building may well have been prompted by increasing complaints about the shortage of high quality office space in both Dublin 2 and 4.

This has already triggered a new round of rent increases, some as high as €645 per sq m (€60 per s q ft).

The former Fás building had about 8,361sq m (90,000sq ft) when it was acquired by Kennedy Wilson.

The company later secured planning permission for an additional 3,716sq m (40,000sq ft), as well as a general upgrading of the entire block.

Reduced parking

Some of the extra floor space is likely to lead to a reduction in the number of car parking places on site. However, the enlarged building will allow the bank to accommodate over 1,000 staff.

Kennedy Wilson are expected to spend at least €15 million on enlarging and upgrading the block over the next 12 months.

At one stage it was thought that the building would be demolished and rebuilt along modern lines once the FÁS lease ran out and the State agency relocated to Castleforbes House in the north docklands.

Incidentally, Kennedy Wilson also own the Bank of Ireland head office on Mespil Road. The bank has a second office block in the same area – the 6,967sq m (75,000sq ft) Burlington Plaza on Burlington Road.

The 9,290sq m (100,000sq ft) Mespil Road building was one of 16 commercial properties connected with the defunct developer Treasury Holdings, which were bought by Kennedy Wilson in July 2013, for €306 million.

The assets also included Stillorgan Shopping Centre and KPMG's Dublin office on St Stephen's Green.

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan is the former commercial-property editor of The Irish Times