Planned €100m office complex to overlook Galway Docks

Office development will include four office blocks and retail space over four buildings

Impression of the planned complex overlooking Galway Docks

Impression of the planned complex overlooking Galway Docks

 

Overseas companies planning to relocate to Ireland as a result of Brexit are likely to have the choice of moving to Galway as well as Dublin. A new planning application for a substantial office development in Galway city is expected to receive the approval of the city council in time to attract some of the foreign direct investments.

The planned €100 million complex overlooking Galway Docks will include four top-end office blocks, extending to 26,000sq m (279,850sq ft), as well as 2,005sq m (21,581sq ft) of retail space spread over the four buildings.

The mixed-use venture will be launched this week by Gerry Barrett. The developer exited Nama two years ago when €778 million in loans held by Edward Holdings were sold off at a considerable discount. The company had an extensive portfolio of retail and hotel properties, including the G Hotel and the Meyrick Hotel in Galway, the D in Drogheda, and Ashford Castle in Co Mayo.

Mr Barrett has managed to retain ownership of the two-acre docklands site, 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. The storage tanks on the site were removed in time for the land to be used as an entertainment centre for thousands of spectators who attended the Volvo Ocean Race in 2008.

This week Mr Barrett lodged a formal planning application with Galway City Council for the six- and seven-storey office blocks, which will share a single basement level and overlook a landscaped plaza. The site adjoins an even larger open area owned by CIE, which is also expected to be redeveloped in the coming years.

There is considerable confidence that the office development planned for the newly named Bonham Dock will generate particular interest among overseas companies because of its close proximity to the city centre, its appealing lifestyle and surplus residential accommodation.

Urban quarter

Mr Barrett’s company, Edward Capital, expects the office and retail development to create more than 500 construction jobs and about 2,600 permanent posts when the project is completed.

He said the new urban quarter would make up for a dearth in city centre office space, which had precluded major international companies moving operations to the city. “It will cement a reimagining of Galway as it moves towards 2020 and takes up the mantle of European Capital of Culture,” he predicted.

The new centre has been designed by BDP, which is noted for its architectural skills on strategic workplace environments across other docklands locations around the world, including London, Hamburg and Sydney.

Spectacular views

The Galway project has been designed to provide maximum flexibility for multiple occupation. The plans also provide for the maximum use of external glazing to take full advantage of the spectacular views over the docklands and Galway bay.

In a study of the most promising investment locations in 2014/15, fDi magazine (a Financial Times publication) named Galway as the best overall “microcity” in Europe. It is already emerging as an international centre for manufacturing and research in the medical and biomedical sectors, as well as the information technology industry.

Aidan Gavin of estate agents Cushman & Wakefied, which is advising Edward Capital, said he had no doubt the planned development would attract strong interest from existing and new companies looking for high-calibre design and flexibility.

Bonham Quay would finally deliver new office space in an area that had seen demand outstripping supply in recent years, he added.