State takes over leases on Irish Life blocks


THE State is to rent more than 66,000 square feet of office space for two Government agencies at the Irish Life Centre in Lower Abbey Street, Dublin l. It is the largest volume of space to be taken by the Office of Public Works for almost a decade.

The Valuations Office is to take over 39,080 square feet of space which was previously occupied by the planning authorities for the Dublin area.

The four local authorities are to contribute £1.3 million towards the cost of upgrading the accommodation which they held under a 35-year lease from 1977.

The current rent of £8.88 per square foot and £800 for each of the 60 car-parking spaces is due to be reviewed next year.

The local authorities had failed to assign the lease since they vacated the building more than two years ago. The OPW decision to take responsibility for the lease is in line with its policy of targeting space left vacant by semi-State bodies and local authorities once there is a demand from central government agencies.

The Valuations Office is to vacate 21,900 square feet of space at 5/6 Ely Place when the lease expires in November, 1997. The State has been paying a rent of less than £2,000 per year for the accommodation under a 50-year lease. The building is owned by the businessman Pierce Moloney.

The Valuations Office is also moving out of 19,200 square feet in an adjoining building, Ely Court, where the lease allows the tenant to opt out in March, 1998. The OPW is paying a rent of around £200,000 per year for Ely Court, which is owned by the Knights of Columbanus.

Lisney handled the assignment of the lease for the local authorities.

The OPW is also to take over 27,000 square feet in blocks D, E and F of the Irish Life Centre, which was used by the Chase Bank until it moved to the International Financial Services Centre.

The bank agreed to give the OPW a three-month rent-free period in return for taking over its lease, which has another six years to run. The space will be used by a new agency headed by a Telecommunications Regulator.

The rent for the former Chase Bank space is £296,000 per annum - equating to £10.50 per square foot and £1,200 for each of the 17 car-parking spaces.

The decision to take over the two leases will mean that State agencies will now occupy a total of 145,000 square feet in the Irish Life Centre. The Department of Education is the largest single State tenant.

The OPW has made significant progress in reducing the level of office space rented by the State in Dublin.

The largest blocks vacated this year were the 32,000-square-foot St Martin's House at Waterloo Road and the 22,000-square-foot Arkle House at Lower Mount Street.