There goes the neighbourhood: Is Ballsbridge ready for a Facebook invasion?
‘Ballsbridge is the Knightsbridge of Dublin, and rents are at a premium’
Ballsbridge transformation: how the Comer Group’s No 1 Ballsbridge development will look
Facebook’s move from the Dublin docklands to AIB’s far bigger Bankcentre site, 2km away, which will enable the social-media company to add 5,000 staff to the 2,200 who already work for its Irish operation, certainly sounds like a boon for Ballsbridge. But can the area accommodate them, and where are they going to live?
This prime D4 district is already undergoing something of a transformation. The Comer brothers’ No 1 Ballsbridge development is introducing a new thoroughfare that will connect Shelbourne Road to Pembroke Road, which should help create more of a heart for an area that has always suffered from being bisected by the four-lane R118, better known as Merrion and Northumberland Roads.
Avoca, Dylan McGrath and Butlers have all signed up in the area. And the original strip on either side of the River Dodder bridge has no shortage of cafes, bars and restaurants, while Herbert Park is on the doorstep and Sandymount Strand is within easy walking distance.
There are only so many senior executives capable of paying €8,000 to €15,000 a month for a luxury rental. Such properties are already proving slow to move
Public transport links are excellent, with the Sydney Parade and Lansdowne Road Dart stations (the latter of which will have direct access to the Facebook building) and countless Dublin Bus routes passing through.
So will the move mean a bonanza for local landlords? “Demand is already high and supply low,” says Nicola Bergin, a local agent. “A lot of the Facebook employees are already in situ in Barrow Street and already housed, with many renting in more affordable districts nearby, like Irishtown and Ringsend.
“Their salaries aren’t enormous. We find that they have between €800 and €1,600 per person to spend on rent, with many operating on a room-share basis. If the firm is bringing in someone on contract, they’ll assign them a relocation agent, to assist them in the move, finding properties for them to view that are within their budget.”
MyHome currently lists just five properties to rent in Ringsend. These range in price from a two-bedroom, one bathroom apartment asking €2,040 to a three-bed, two bathroom, mid-terrace, house asking €3,200.
In Ballsbridge the most affordable property listed is a two-bedroom apartment on Haddington Road asking €2050 a month, about a 20-minute walk from the campus.
“Ballsbridge is the Knightsbridge of Dublin, and rents are at a premium,” says Eileen Sheehy, managing director of SherryFitzGerald’s lettings department. While the average two-bed in the capital rents for about €2,200 a month, average rents in Ballsbridge start, if you’re very lucky, at about €2,400.
That’s how much you might pay for a two-bed in the Sweepstakes, but the same size apartment in newer complexes, like Dunluce, overlooking Merrion Cricket Club, can command €3,500 a month – and a premium pad at the swanky Lansdowne Place will probably cost you €6,000 when built.
These properties are clearly not designed for the average tech worker, and there are only so many senior executives capable of paying €8,000 to €15,000 a month for a luxury rental, Bergin says. Such properties are already proving slow to move.
One home relocator says that, regardless of where tech companies put their offices, their employees will always want to live no more than a 10-minute walk away, and to be in the thick of city living.
But Sheehy says SherryFitz has found otherwise: Facebook staff, especially those with children, are looking to Dublin’s suburbs. “There is a better choice of accommodation, rents are not so high and there are more schools,” she says.
Owen Reilly, an agent based just behind Facebook’s docklands HQ, agrees. The company’s move “will increase demand for rentals in the area, and the current rental crisis is in the affordable end of the market”, he says. “The reality is that many of these workers will have to live in other parts of the city and use the Dart to get to work. We need to build more apartment blocks along the transport links, in Bray and Shankhill, for example.”
Whether the new arrivals rent or buy, will Ballsbridge’s existing residents be happy with an influx of hipsters? For sure, says the relocator. “They work hard, so it’s unlikely they’ll see much of them – and when they do they’ll add colour to the place.”
PROPERTIES TO RENT
1. €2,800 a month: Shrewsbury Park, Ballsbridge, D4
Agent Lansdowne Property
A slightly dated two-bed, two-bath second-floor apartment with a feature fireplace.
2. €3,500 a month: Dunluce, Anglesea Road, Ballsbridge, D4
Agent McMahon O’Connor Residential
Two-bed, two-bath, A-rated apartment with south-facing balcony overlooking Merrion Cricket Club.
3. €6,500 a month: 50 Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, D4
Agent Bergins Property Consultants
A two-bed townhouse in a period property with two reception rooms at hall level (which could work as third and fourth bedrooms), a large livingroom and interconnecting kitchen on the next level, and the main bedroom, with en-suite bathroom and dressing room, on the upper floor.
PROPERTIES TO BUY
1. €435,000: 3 Fairview Avenue, Ringsend, D4
Agent Owen Reilly
Two-bed, brick-fronted 65sq m end of terrace situated between Ringsend’s library and park. It has a slate-floored kitchen, a city-sized garden with shed, and a modern shower room.
2. €550,000: 9 Malone Gardens, Sandymount, D4
Charming two-bedroom terrace with study/third bedroom, plus a mature garden, in a neighbourly cul-de-sac off Bath Avenue.
3. €595,000: 24 Ardoyne House, Pembroke Park, D4
Agent Hunters Estate Agents
A substantial three-bed, two-bathapartment of 109sq m in need of insulation upgrades, including windows and doors, with southeast views of Herbert Park from the balcony.
4. €1.95 million: 45 Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, D4
Agent Sherry FitzGerald
Substantial five-bed semi-detached house of 245sq m on the sunny side of Merrion Road. In need of modernisation, with potential to convert the attic.