WeWork sets up Irish presence on George’s Quay and Harcourt Road

Firm to occupy 50,000sq ft of old Ulster Bank HQ, newly modernised and renamed 1GQ

WeWork, the US company that provides trendy office space on flexible leases, is to move into the Dublin market for the first time after agreeing rental terms on two buildings being upgraded at George's Quay and Harcourt Road.

WeWork will occupy 4,645sq m (50,000sq ft) in the renamed 1GQ, which occupies a prime position overlooking the Liffey and the Custom House at the gateway to the south docks. The second venue, Iveagh Court, was occupied until recently by the Central Bank.

The George’s Quay block served as the Ulster Bank’s Dublin headquarters up to a year ago, when it was taken back by owners Irish Life, stripped out and modernised at considerable expense. The railings at the front of the building were removed to accommodate a large new landscaped plaza and a striking five-storey glazed extension, which has increased the overall floor area from 10,219sq m (110,000sq ft) to 12,401 sq m (133,487sq ft).

WeWork is understood to have agreed rental terms of about €613/sq m (€57/sq ft) for the ground- and first-floor levels. Irish Life is unlikely to have any difficulty finding a suitable tenant for the three top floors, which extend to about 7,555sq m (83,487sq ft).

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The upgrading will move the building into the top league with a BER rating of A3 as well as an international LEED Platinum rating. The new glass extension has created light-filled floor plates, a new double-height reception area and a fully glazed 13-person lift overlooking George’s Quay Plaza.

Overflow facility

WeWork is also to rent 5,109sq m (55,000sq ft) in Iveagh Court, which was developed by McGarrell Reilly and used as an overflow facility by the Central Bank until the recent opening of its new headquarters on the North Wall Quay. WeWork has agreed a rent of €538/sq m (€50/sq ft) under a 25-year lease with a 15-year break option. Irish Life is understood to have agreed a similar lease term for George’s Dock.

The two new WeWork offices are expected to be ready for fit-out early in the new year.

Deirdre Costello of agents JLL, who is advising Irish Life, said it would be premature to comment on any letting. Daniel Shannon of CBRE, who is advising WeWork, also refused to comment.

WeWork plans to open serviced offices in every UK city and recently announced the opening of a giant new office in Waterloo, in central London, which will be the world’single largest serviced office building. The company principally targets start-ups, although some of its tenants are larger firms looking for extra space for specific projects.

WeWork recently secured $300 million from Japanese multinational SoftBank Group in a deal that valued the New York company at more than $17 billion.