Dublin city centre offices set for €20m replacement

Sharp Building will replace existing Silicon Docks premises with a six-storey structure

Architect’s impression of new Sharp Building on Hogan Place, Dublin 2

Another Dublin city centre office block is to be demolished and replaced by a new-generation building designed to have a particular appeal as a top-of-the-market headquarters.

Developers McGarrell Reilly Group are to launch a marketing campaign this week for the planned Sharp Building at Hogan Place, close to the city's technology hub, dubbed Silicon Docks. In the same street, a newly redeveloped office block with a broadly similar floor space of 418sq m (45,000sq ft) was recently let by Jones Investments to Stripe, the online payments company founded by brothers John and Patrick Collinson.

Sharp Building, named after George Sharp, the 19th-century portrait and figure painter who resided in Hogan Place, will replace a Victorian-style office facility developed a quarter of a century ago by Seán Reilly, who continues to head up the McGarrell Reilly Group.

Existing structure at Sharp Building site on Hogan Place, Dublin 2

The four-storey, 2,415sq m (26,000sq ft) building, noted for its red-brick façade, pitched roof, bell tower and small windows, was occupied over the years mainly by the Health and Safety Authority.


It was one of the first major commercial buildings developed by O’Reilly who spent what was then a small fortune (€4 million) on making it cosy and likeable.

The only part of the block to be salvaged when construction gets under way in September will be the 41-space basement car park which is to be extended to accommodate staff facilities including bicycle spaces, showers, toilets and changing and drying rooms.

An estimated €20 million is to be spent on replacing the old building with a six-storey, fully glazed fourth-generation block that will be among the most environmentally friendly in the city. The design by lead architect Gary O’Hare of KMD Architects will highlight its corner profile, using high-quality, well-detailed materials in a simple and timeless fashion.

In addition to a double-height entrance lobby, the ground floor will include a café-deli extending to about 200sq m with outdoor seating to “animate the townscape, easing the work-life interface”, says O’Hare.

Arrangements have been made for a “best-in-class” specification with average floor plates of 8,600sq ft along with floor-to-ceiling heights of 2.8m and four-pipe fan-coil air conditioning to facilitate a single headquarters or a multitenancy arrangement. McGarrell Reilly has opted for high-energy rating standards with LEED Gold and BER A3 rating to minimise operational costs and environmental impact.

Paul Scannell of agents HWBC and Paul Hanly of Knight Frank are to handle tenant inquiries for Sharp Building which will be conveniently located within 10 minutes' walk of Grafton Street.

Hogan Place is also well-positioned for primary streets such as Pearse Street, Lower Mount Street and Merrion Square, yet within easy access of the docklands.

Three decades

The launch of the campaign for the impressive new block comes as Reilly marks his 30th year in the property industry. In that time, his low-profile company has either developed or refurbished over one million square feet of commercial buildings in Ireland, the UK and Germany. Its Dublin properties have included the five office blocks in Iveagh Court on Harcourt Road; the Watermarque Building on South Lotts Road, Dublin 4; Marsh House on Adelaide Road; and CityNorth Business Campus on the M1 motorway at Stamullen on the Dublin/Meath border.

Like most other major development companies, McGarrell Reilly has had a fleeting engagement with Nama when loans relating to commercial properties with an overall floor area of 550,000sq ft were sold. Lone Star ended up buying the income-producing assets and, in an amicable settlement, McGarrell Reilly retained the development side of the portfolio. In recent months the reinvigorated company has bought in almost 100,000sq ft of office facilities in three Sandyford buildings – Corrig Court, Silverstone House and Bracken Court – with the intention of upgrading and adding value. The developer has also bought in Stafford House, a block of 43 apartments on Wolfe Tone Street, Dublin 1, with the intention refurbishing them and adding three duplex penthouses. The company has approval to change the facade.

McGarrell Reilly is equally well-known in the residential market, having sold a vast number of houses over the past three decades. It continues to be busy and is building houses on five sites – Hansfield, Dublin 15; Steeplechase, Ratoath; Malmount, Dundalk; Stepaside Park, Dublin 18; and Charlemont Street Dublin 2.

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan

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