Johnny Ronan offers Google option on 1,000 apartments

Proposal would mean tech giant buying or leasing homes at Dublin docklands scheme

An artist’s impression of the proposed Project Waterfront scheme as seen from the South Quays.

An artist’s impression of the proposed Project Waterfront scheme as seen from the South Quays.

 

Developer Johnny Ronan has offered Google the option to secure all 1,000 apartments his company is planning to build on lands it controls in Dublin’s north docklands.

The apartments are part of Ronan Group Real Estate’s proposal for the Project Waterfront site which it and a partner, US real estate giant Colony Capital, acquired for €180 million last year.

It is understood the developer pitched the idea to Google’s real estate team during recent discussions on the tech giant’s ongoing search for extra office space to accommodate its growing Dublin operations.

While Google gave no commitment to acquiring or leasing the residential element of the Project Waterfront scheme, a source said the company was “considering all options” in relation to work space and residential accommodation.

A spokesman for RGRE declined to comment on the matter and a spokeswoman for Google said it was the company’s policy not to comment on rumours or speculation.

Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai this week suggested that his company would be willing to involve itself in a “process of engagement” with Government and the local community in relation to housing planning and development matters. However, Mr Ronan’s proposal would be confined to the company’s workforce.

Stabilise rents

Were Google to avail of Mr Ronan’s offer, it could go some way in helping to stabilise rents elsewhere in Dublin city centre by removing many of its well-paid employees from the market.

Located on 4.6 acres next to the 3 Arena and the Point Village, Project Waterfront comprises two adjacent sites with existing planning permission for 420 apartments and 300,216sq ft (27,891sq m) of offices distributed across four blocks.

Following a recent review of building heights within the Dublin Docklands Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), Mr Ronan has entered into pre-planning discussions with Dublin City Council and is aiming to increase the number of apartments to 1,000 units distributed across two towers rising in height to 44 and 40 storeys respectively.

At 155m, the taller of these blocks would be more than three times the height of Liberty Hall (51m), and nearly twice the height of the 88m (22-storey) tower on Tara Street for which Ronan secured planning permission earlier this year.

RGRE is aiming to develop offices, retail units, hotel accommodation, rooftop parks and a “sky garden” as part of the Waterfront project.