Google buys former warehouse at Grand Canal Dock

Local developer makes handsome profit on early 19th century Dock Mill

The newly refurbished redbrick Dock Mill which has been bought by Google for €13m. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The newly refurbished redbrick Dock Mill which has been bought by Google for €13m. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

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Google is to embark on a further enlargement of its European headquarters at Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock following its purchase of a former warehouse recently converted into office use.

Google has paid €13 million in an off-market deal for the early 19th century Dock Mill which sits on the water’s edge beside a range of buildings owned by the company.

The warehouse had been owned for the last two years by property developer Chris Jones of Jones Investments, who spotted the bargain priced at a mere €1.3 million.

The warehouse had been lying idle for some time, and previously belonged to developer Bernard McNamara, who had planned to convert it into five apartments overlooking the water like so many prestigious homes in London and San Francisco.

Jones is believed to have spent around €1.4 million on converting the four-storey over-basement block into office use and installing under-floor heating, VRF air conditioning, underfloor trunking, showers and a lift to serve all floors. The various floors with an overall space of 997sq m (10,734sq ft) are linked by internal staircases.

Ronan Corbett and Ashling Tannam of DTZ Sherry FitzGerald advised Jones Investments, while Paddy Conlon of CBRE acted for Google.

The sale to Google will be seen as another example of companies who bought in at the bottom of the market now selling on at a handsome profit.

For its part Google was also a major beneficiary of the collapse of the property market, allowing it to purchase a range of buildings on Barrow Street at a fraction their original values.

The most notable acquisition was Montevetro, a 15-storey block alongside Barrow Street Dart station that serves as a dramatic landmark at one of the entrances to the docklands. The internet search company paid €99 million for the 19,000sq m (204,516sq ft) block which was developed by the now dormant Treasury Holdings and sold by Nama.

Google also acquired almost as much spaces again for just over €100 million in Gordon House and Gasworks House on the opposite side of the road which the company previously rented for €8 million a year after moving into Dublin in 2003. Both blocks were built by Liam Carroll, whose property business collapsed owing the banks an estimated €1.2 billion.

Just over a year ago Google bought yet another office building on Barrow Street, the 8,965sq m (96,500 sq ft) Grand Mill Quay which cost €65 million. It was built by Bernard McNamara.

Google’s policy of buying rather than renting has greatly helped its expansion in Dublin where it is the biggest single employer in what some term Silicon Docks.

The company is also expected to keep a close eye on the former Bolands Mill on Barrow Street which will be the centrepiece of a new development planned by Nama. It will include the restoration of the now derelict mill and the construction of three new office and apartment blocks.

The Dockland’s Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) scheme allows property owners to secure construction permission from Dublin city planners which cannot be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

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