Overseas companies considering relocating to Ireland as a result of Brexit will shortly have the choice of moving to Galway as well as Dublin. An Bord Pleanála yesterday approved of plans by local developer Gerry Barrett to proceed with a substantial office development overlooking Galway docks.
The €100 million complex will include four top-end office blocks extending to 26,000sq m (279,850 sq ft) as well as 2,005sq m (21,581sq ft) of retail space and accommodation for 350 students on Queen Street.
Work on the development is expected create about 400 construction jobs when it begins next February.
It is accepted that the office development planned for Galway’s Bonham Dock will be of particular interest to foreign companies moving to Ireland because of its close proximity to the shopping and entertainment areas of the city, as well as the widespread availability of both apartments and houses. Dublin has had an acute shortage of residential accommodation in recent years.
The new planning approval will allow Mr Barrett to re-enter the construction industry after an absence of more than three years. The developer exited Nama when €778 million in loans held by his company, Edward Holdings, were sold off at a considerable discount. The company had a comprehensive portfolio of retail and hotel properties, including the G Hotel and Meyrick Hotel in Galway, the D in Drogheda, Co Louth, and Ashford Castle in Co Mayo. The Galway businessman continues to operate Scotch Hall Shopping Centre in Drogheda.
Mr Barrett also managed to retain ownership of the Bonham dock site in Galway, which he bought before the property crash in 2005 for €9 million. At that stage it was used as an oil storage depot by Topaz.
This change of fortune for Mr Barrett comes only weeks after he was awarded the contract by CIE to develop an adjoining site of 8.2 acres beside Ceannt Railway Station in Galway city centre.
The project will serve as a sister development to the office scheme and is expected to include a mixture of 400 apartments, a 200-bedroom hotel and a new urban centre anchored by a high-profile retail centre and new transport hub.
Patricia Staunton of Cushman & Wakefield has been engaged to handle the office lettings.