Hunters estate agents has closed its flagship premises on Waterloo Road in Dublin 4 and said it will not reopen when lockdown restrictions are lifted. The south Dublin-based agency had occupied the prominent site on the corner of Waterloo Road and Baggot Street for six years.
Hunters said the decision to shutter the 223sq m (2,400sq ft) premises predates the coronavirus crisis, and was made after the landlord sought to almost double the rent when the lease came due for renewal last December.
Hunters director Bobby Geraghty said the current lockdown had accelerated the decision to quit the branch, but that they will be renewing efforts to secure a smaller premises in the Dublin 2, 4 or 6 area when lockdown restrictions lift.
“We are planning on increasing our focus and investment in our online space and digital technologies. While we still believe retaining a shop front is important, the rationale for such a large space as the Waterloo Road branch office just didn’t really stack up. Premises give profile but not a lot of footfall. The way the world is changing and moving online it’s an expensive luxury, and a huge overhead.”
The six staff currently employed at the Waterloo Road branch will continue to work from home and will be gradually redeployed to Hunters’ other branches in Foxrock, Dalkey and Rathfarnham.
The Hunters’ branch closure is unlikely to be isolated among estate agents in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Property providers paying high rents on multiple premises have for months been managing and conducting their businesses entirely online. Newer digital ways of doing business are gaining traction and some costly “bricks and mortar” overheads are bound to be under review once normal working practices resume.