Five developers in bid to deliver new Dublin HQ for KPMG

‘Big Four’ accounting and advisory giant seeks space for 2,500 workers in the city

Ronan Group Real Estate is looking for KPMG to relocate to its Waterfront South Central scheme

Ronan Group Real Estate is looking for KPMG to relocate to its Waterfront South Central scheme

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Having recently reignited its near decade-long search for a new Dublin headquarters, KPMG is understood to be in the process of assessing proposals from five of the city’s biggest developers.

The shortlist of contenders comprises Johnny Ronan’s Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE), the Kenny family’s Clancourt Group, Shane Whelan’s Westridge Real Estate, Hibernia Reit, and US real estate firm Kennedy Wilson.

KPMG currently occupies two buildings in Dublin city centre, one at Stokes Place on Harcourt Street, and another in the IFSC, but is looking to accommodate its entire complement of 2,500 office-based workers under one roof following the expiration of its existing leases in 2026. While the firm first signalled its intention in 2012 to secure a new headquarters in the capital, in 2014 its managing partner, Shaun Murphy, said the company would continue to operate from Stokes Place until 2026.

The decision followed what Mr Murphy described at the time as a comprehensive analysis of KPMG’s future needs and feedback from clients indicating their preference for the firm’s existing location. Two of the proposals now being considered are set to be developed in whole or in part on Harcourt Street, while the remaining three will be located on Kevin Street, Charlemont Street, and in the city’s north docklands.

Development

The Harcourt Street schemes consist of Hibernia Reit’s Harcourt Square, a 31,866sq m (343,000sq ft) development on the site of the current Dublin regional Garda headquarters, and Kennedy Wilson’s proposed 39,932sq m (429,824sq ft) campus linking the south side of St Stephen’s Green and KPMG’s current premises at Stokes Place.

On Kevin Street, developer Shane Whelan is looking for KPMG to locate its operations within the 53,110sq m (571,671sq ft) of office space his company, Westridge Real Estate, intends to deliver as part of its redevelopment of the former DIT Kevin Street campus.

The Clancourt Group is understood to be vying to secure KPMG as the tenant for 36,845sq m (396,596sq ft) of offices it intends to develop on a site bounded by Charlemont Street and Harcourt Road. KPMG already occupies some 1,858sq m (20,000sq ft) of office space at Clancourt’s Park Place scheme on Hatch Street. The firm entered into a 10-year lease on the first and second floors of Two Park Place in 2019.

Developer Johnny Ronan, meanwhile, is seeking to secure KPMG as the tenant for RGRE’s Waterfront South Central development in the city’s north docklands. Upon completion, the scheme will include some 27,891sq m (300,216sq ft) of office space, along with up to 1,005 apartments distributed across three blocks ranging in height from eight to 45 storeys. The residential element of the scheme is currently the subject of a fast-track planning application to An Bord Pleanála.

While a company controlled by the family of businessman Larry Goodman had its proposal to deliver a new headquarters for KPMG at the site of the Setanta Centre on Nassau Street included on an original shortlist of six schemes being assessed by the accounting giant, it stepped away from the process recently.

Explaining the decision, a spokesperson for Mr Goodman's company said: "Parma Properties 1971 ULC, the holding company for the Setanta Centre, notified KPMG recently of its withdrawal of the property from the shortlist of potential sites for KPMG's head office citing uncertainty around the deliverability of the development within the tight deadlines specified by KPMG and potential litigation relating to the site." 

Parma Properties is pressing ahead however with plans to construct a 406,000sq ft head office building on the Setanta Centre site, which it says will be "in accordance with the highest environmental standards and consistent with its architectural location".

The Goodman family is best known for its involvement in the meat processing industry but has significant commercial real estate interests in Dublin city centre. The family also owns the landmark Miesian Plaza office block on Lower Baggot Street, which is home to the headquarters of the Department of Health, and to Takeda Pharmaceuticals.   

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