Facebook move to Ballsbridge site will open door for 5,000 jobs

Social media giant will quadruple its Dublin office space at AIB’s Bankcentre site

Gareth Lambe, head of office for Facebook in Ireland: “It’s a great signal of our intent and commitment to Ireland.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Gareth Lambe, head of office for Facebook in Ireland: “It’s a great signal of our intent and commitment to Ireland.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Social media giant Facebook has agreed terms to lease the high-profile 14-acre Bankcentre campus in Ballsbridge, which will allow it to add 5,000 staff to its Irish operation in the coming years.

The move to a new international headquarters in Dublin will result in Facebook quadrupling its current floor space to 870,000sq ft across a number of buildings on a site that is currently occupied by AIB, which itself is relocating its operation.

In total the Ballsbridge campus will be able to accommodate more than 7,000 employees. Facebook plans to develop the site over the next three years, with the first group of staff due to move there in late March or April next year.

The company, founded by tech entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg, plans to relocate the 2,200 staff from its Grand Canal Square building in Dublin’s south docks.

More than 60 Facebook teams will eventually be located in Ballsbridge, with the company taking leases from the various landlords for more than 20 years. It will also be home to staff working for its subsidiary applications, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger, and its Oculus virtual reality unit.

Irish commitment

Gareth Lambe, head of office for Facebook in Ireland, said the move gives Facebook a “lot of room for growth, and an ability to plan strategically” for the future here.

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“By 2022 we will have all of our full-time employees [in Dublin] located there,” he said. “We were very keen to take the whole campus and to have our future here for the next decades copperfastened. Our chief financial officer, [David Wehner], was very supportive of this huge investment and we’re very grateful for that. It’s a great signal of our intent and commitment to Ireland.”

Mr Lambe said the campus would provide staff with a “state-of-the-art, modern work environment with lots of collaborative spaces, training spaces and an outdoor plaza with seating areas”.

It will also have a direct connection with the nearby Lansdowne Road Dart station.

By the end of this year, Facebook will have more than 4,000 employees in Ireland across four locations – Grand Canal Square, Samuel Beckett Building in Dublin 3, Clonee Data Centre in Meath and Facebook Reality Labs in Cork.

Mr Lambe said Facebook’s investment across the various sites would amount to “hundreds of millions” of euro over time.

‘Landmark day’

Negotiations on the Ballsbridge site, opposite the RDS, have been under way for more than a year, with Facebook agreeing terms with AIB, a group of investors involving Davy clients and the Serpentine consortium, and Johnny Ronan and Colony Capital, who are developing Fibonacci Square at the front of the campus.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys described Facebook’s move as a “landmark day” for the company, which established its international headquarters in Dublin in December 2008.

“Without a doubt, this expansion is a huge vote of confidence in Ireland and our pro-enterprise policies,” she said. “Above all, it is a testament to the calibre of our rich pool of talent, who have contributed so positively to the company’s global growth in the last decade.”

Facebook’s Irish unit plays a central role in its global operations with engineers, safety experts, legal professionals, policy experts, and marketing and sales teams covering many facets of the social network.

A number of global and regional teams are run out of here, including the global gaming team and the unit that helps small and medium-sized businesses across Europe, Middle East and Africa connect with customers.