TikTok narrows Dublin office search to three locations

Social media giant seeking capacity for 2,000 once Covid-19 restrictions ease

While most employers are still considering their strategies for the much-anticipated post-pandemic return to the workplace, TikTok is forging ahead with plans to accommodate thousands of its workers in a new Dublin office within the coming year.

Having engaged Cushman & Wakefield as advisers to conduct a search for sufficient space to grow its Irish-based headcount to 5,000 over the longer term, the Chinese-headquartered social-media company has in recent days begun assessing proposals relating to three newly-built office properties in the city capable of accommodating up to 2,000 workers onsite immediately.

The three locations being considered for occupation once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted are the Sorting Office, the south docklands scheme developed by Pat Crean's Marlet Property Group; TIO's North Dock development in the north docklands; and McGarrell Reilly's Charlemont Square campus on Charlemont Street in Dublin city centre.

The Sorting Office is arguably the best-known scheme of the three owing to the publicity it attracted on foot of Google’s decision last September to withdraw from its plan to rent the building in its entirety to facilitate the expansion of its Dublin-based workforce. While the US tech giant’s move was interpreted by certain commentators as reflecting the uncertainty surrounding the future of the traditional office model, TikTok’s current search for space will be seen by others as undermining that analysis. At 19,510sq m (210,000sq ft), the Sorting Office would be capable of accommodating all of the TikTok’s initial office requirements under one roof.


North Dock

In the case of its North Dock development, TIO (Targeted Investment Opportunities) has offered TikTok the entire of North Dock One (8,826sq m/95,000sq ft) and the remaining 5,500sq m (59,200sq ft) of space still available within the adjoining 9,941sq m (107,000sq ft) North Dock Two. Taken together, the two buildings would give the Chinese social media company room to accommodate about 1,500 workers.

Should TikTok decide to locate its new Dublin offices on Charlemont Street, the 17,187sq m (185,000sq ft) available at One Charlemont Square would give it the capacity to bring about 1,800 employees together. The 15,793sq m (170,000sq ft) of space in the adjoining offices at Two Charlemont Square was let in its entirety to US online retail giant Amazon in November 2019.

While efforts by The Irish Times to contact TikTok’s advisers at Cushman & Wakefield were unsuccessful, it is understood the process of selecting a suitable location for the Chinese company’s operation are moving at pace notwithstanding the challenges being posed by the pandemic. TikTok is understood be keen to bring its Dublin workforce together as soon as is permissible to foster the culture of collaboration which it and other companies believe cannot be replicated with remote working.

Having employed just 20 people in the Republic at the start of 2020 TikTok has, in the interim, expanded its presence significantly with the growth of its Trust and Safety Hub in Dublin. The hub made the Irish operation TikTok’s third regional centre, enabling it to operate a localised approach to content policy.

TikTok has also designated Ireland as the hub of its European SMB business, which works with businesses and brands, and added a data privacy division to the Dublin-based team, appointing a head of privacy for EMEA and a data-protection officer last summer.

Since its establishment more than three years ago, TikTok has garnered in the region of a billion users globally. The social media app has proved to be particularly popular with younger users.

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Property Editor of The Irish Times