OPW pre-lets Smithfield offices for €6m per year

Distillers Building being developed by the Linders Group fronts on to Smithfield Square

The Office of Public Works (OPW), the public body that is responsible for the ownership and stewardship of much of the State's property portfolio, has pre-let a 15,094sq m (162,470sq ft) office block that is being developed in Smithfield, Dublin 7. The Linders Group, led by Joe and Patrick Linders, is developing the Distillers Building, which fronts on to the Smithfield Luas stop and Smithfield Square.

The OPW confirmed it pre-let the office block for a “very competitive rent” of less than €431 per sq m (€40 per sq ft). This suggests the State body will pay more than €6 million per annum in rent for the permitted net office space unless the rent is substantially below €431 per sq m, which is unlikely given its location at the periphery of Dublin’s central business district and close to strong transport links.

The OPW expects that the building will act as a headquarters for two large Government organisations, with whom it is actively working to finalise their space requirements. When complete, the building will feature 47 car parking spaces, 188 bicycle spaces, shower and changing facilities and roof terraces.

The Linders Group, which appointed the Knight Frank agency to handle the letting of the Distillers Building, has developed several office schemes in Dublin’s north inner city, including Bloom House on Gloucester Place and Colvill House on Talbot Street. The most recently filed public accounts for Linders of Smithfield, the group’s main company, reveal that at the end of 2017 it owned investment properties valued at €225 million and its net assets stood at some €80 million.


Paramount Place

State bodies were extremely active in the office market during the first three months of this year, to the extent that industry sources believe that they accounted for about 30 per cent of office take-up in that period. The OPW was the most active State body, taking up leases at the Distillers Building along with 4,366sq m (47,000sq ft) of new space at Hines’s Bishops Square development in Dublin 2.

The OPW is reportedly set to pay €527 per sq m (€49 per sq ft) for the new offices, which will see it occupy a total of about 12,725sq m (137,000sq ft) in the development, including space it already occupies. Outside of the city centre, it is understood it has also recently leased office space at Paramount Place in Balbriggan.

Aside from the OPW, the Central Bank of Ireland was the second most active Government body thanks to its agreement to pay more than €200 million for Numbers 4 and 5 Dublin Landings in Dublin's docklands. The two buildings have a combined floor area of about 18,850sq m (200,000sq ft) and are adjacent to the banking regulator's landmark headquarters on North Wall Quay.