WeWork in talks to lease Dawson Street building

Building set to be refurbished and extended to 99,000sq ft by Irish developer Oakmount

CGI of refurbished former New Ireland building on Dawson Street, Dublin

CGI of refurbished former New Ireland building on Dawson Street, Dublin

 

WeWork, the collaborative workspace provider, is in talks to lease the former New Ireland Assurance headquarters on Dublin’s Dawson Street, which is set to be refurbished and extended by Irish developer Oakmount.

The development company, led by Paddy McKillen jnr and Matt Ryan, last year paid €38 million for the two interlinked buildings and submitted a planning application in December to refurbish them, along with constructing a rear extension and adding two additional setback floors on top of the existing five-storey structures.

A third-party application was submitted last year to have certain aspects of the existing buildings, dating from 1964 and 1971, added to Dublin City Council’s record of protected structures.

This was likely one of the key considerations for Oakmount in its decision to retain and improve the existing structures, rather than follow in the footsteps of other developers in the immediate vicinity who have demolished numerous first-generation office blocks in recent years.

These include the neighbouring former Royal and Sun Alliance offices, which Green Reit demolished in order to accommodate its One Molesworth development – home to The Ivy restaurant.

Oakmount’s Dawson Street project will, if permitted, extend to 9,200sq m (99,000sq ft), which includes a ground- floor 851sq m (9,160sq ft) licensed restaurant. Oakmount’s sister company, Press Up Entertainment Group, will surely lease the restaurant unit to add to its ever-expanding collection of eateries, including its latest offering, Isabelle’s, which is located across the street at Royal Hibernian Way and South Anne Street.

The hospitality group has rented all of Oakmount’s restaurant, bar and hotel developments to date, and also leases a string of venues owned by third parties around Dublin. It has just penned a deal to take over the former Odessa Club at 13 Dame Court in Dublin 2, and has plans to reopen the venue in the next 18 months.

The former New Ireland Assurance HQ will join the small contingent of architecturally significant office blocks that have traded hands in recent years and been faithfully restored rather than demolished.

These include One Central Plaza on Dawson Street, the former Central Bank office dating from the 1970s, which is currently being refurbished by Hines and will also be tenanted by WeWork.

Similarly, Larry Goodman’s Parma Developments undertook the extension and refurbishment of the landmark 1970s former Bank of Ireland HQ on Baggot Street, now named Miesian Plaza.