Facebook's decision to locate its new European headquarters in Ballsbridge continues to pay dividends for the area notwithstanding the current impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the rollout of vaccines expected to pick up pace over the coming months, the Killeen Group is to press ahead with the delivery of a new office scheme next to the social media giant's new Dublin 4 campus and directly opposite the RDS on the Merrion Road.
Designed by Reddy Architects, the six-storey over double-basement Glencar House will comprise 7,200sq m (77,500sq ft) upon completion in 2023. Construction of the new property will get under way as soon as permitted under the current Covid-19 guidelines.
The Merrion Road site has been occupied since 1991 by a pavilion-style building built by English developer Roy Strudwick's Ryde Developments as part of the overall Sweepstakes Centre scheme. After lying idle for three years after plans by a restaurateur to acquire and operate the building as a Chinese restaurant ran into difficulties, the building was acquired by Knockanore Properties, a company headed up the late businessman Dr Tim Mahony, founding chairman of Toyota Ireland, for the equivalent of €2.5 million. Dr Mahony's Killeen Group subsequently occupied a significant portion of the premises for more than a decade, using it as a showroom for its Toyota and Lexus cars. In recent years, the property has been occupied by a range of corporate tenants including Nuance Communications and BNPParibas Real Estate.
In developing Glencar House, the family of the late Dr Mahony are focusing on quality and sustainability through the use of high-specification materials and finishes throughout. The new offices will incorporate a range of Irish resources including Connemara marble, native wood and stone, and rich natural materials. The property’s green credentials will be complemented by 128 onsite bicycle spaces (with dedicated bicycle lift), plus e-charging points for all 42 car parking spaces – making Glencar House one of the first office buildings in Ireland with this level of charging infrastructure in place.
Quite apart from targeting both A3 BER and LEED platinum ratings, the building’s developers will be aiming to secure WELL V2 core platinum certification, Wired Score and Cycling Score certification (which determines the quality and efficiency of a building’s active travel amenities). Glencar House will also have a green roof, incorporating native and adaptive species providing onsite biodiversity. Internally, the building has been designed to reduce building water consumption by 35 per cent, via rainwater harvesting.
The building’s specification will also feature pandemic-protection features throughout with touch-free access control, touch-free lifts, touch-free sanitary ware, occupancy sensors for common areas/toilets and automated temperature sensors.
Walls have been appointed as the main building contractor, while Mitchell McDermott have been retained as the project managers. Aisling Tannam of Cushman & Wakefield and Keith O’Neill of BNP Paribas Real Estate have been engaged as joint letting agents for the property.