DESPITE the global pandemic, Cork City’s office sector starts 2021 with an encouraging triple-A rating for space requirement, and new jobs in the pipeline as a result.

The triple-A prospects come from existing major companies in the region — Alter Domus, Amazon, and Apple, which is Cork’s largest private employer.

However, it is understood that Apple has now scaled back its hunt for Cork office space from up to 100,000 sq ft before Covid-19 struck, to a current search for up to 50,000 sq ft of additional accommodation.

Amazon had started a Cork offices hunt for up to 100,000 sq ft in the greater Cork area late in 2020 via Dublin agents JLL. It is seeking to add 1,000 Irish jobs in Dublin and Cork, excluding whatever it decides to takes on when establishing its first Irish fulfillment centre logistics base.

Amazon and Apple’s moves will follow that of fintech firm Alter Domus, who were the first to confirm their additional jobs rollout two weeks ago, on foot of a deal to take 20,000 sq ft at Cork Airport Business Park at building 2600, first reported online in the Irish Examiner in mid-December.

While some sources indicate up to four possible sites are being pitched to Apple in the city, front-runners to secure the company’s presence are  BAM/Clarendon’s Horgan’s Quay/HQ development by Kent Railway Station and Dean Hotel on the north quays, and O’Callaghan Properties’ Navigation Square on the south quays.

 Dusk at  Cork city quays, showing Navigation Square and the now vacated Cork Bonded Warehouses at the Port of Cork site.
Dusk at  Cork city quays, showing Navigation Square and the now vacated Cork Bonded Warehouses at the Port of Cork site.

It’s understood that Apple is keen to secure space close to “practical completion”, thus, for the moment, at least, ruling out other locations with planning in place but not commenced such as The Prism and Penrose Quay, next to JCD’s Penrose Dock. 

A view of new development buildings at BAM/Clarendon Horgan's Quay development in  Cork city, with JCD's Penrose Dock development to the left.  Picture; David Creedon / Anzenberger
A view of new development buildings at BAM/Clarendon Horgan’s Quay development in  Cork city, with JCD’s Penrose Dock development to the left.  Picture; David Creedon / Anzenberger

Apple has engaged Cushman & Wakefield to advise them on their ongoing search and balancing best options. (Apple also sought planning permission in recent weeks for a small, c 1,200 sq ft extension to a production building at Hollyhill, where it controls circa one million square feet c 1m sq ft of property.

However, it is understood that Apple has currently scaled back its need for additional space by half, and is now actively weighing up rival Cork quays sites for 40,000 to 50,000 sq ft of offices.

That’s less than the 100,000 sq ft it had initially sought this time last year, before the global pandemic put a brake on markets and threw a note of uncertainty into the entire office sector as a nation switched to working from home. 

 

Apple’s current live office requirement is in addition to its Hollyhill EMEA HQ, which has benefited from a c €220m expansion, and to its presence at Half Moon Street by the Opera House, where it employs about 700 and occupies about 55,000 sq ft.

Apple was very close to a deal in the first half of 2020 for 80,000-100,000 sq ft of new offices in the city’s rapidly unfurling docklands campus: now, they’ve reduced that need to a still significant 40,000-50,000 sq ft, with scope to add to that again if necessary, as needs demand.

Well-placed sources have confirmed Apple’s live space requirement, but acknowledge the current reduction: ideally, the company would like its chosen location to have future prospects of scaling back up again to accommodate further growth in coming years.

Horgans Quay/HQ will have 300,000 sq ft of offices, with joint agents there Cushman & Wakefield and Savills. Across the River Lee and the Port of Cork’s site, OCP’s well-advanced Navigation Square will total 350,000 sq ft, with letting agent Savills and CBRE, and is currently anchored by Clearstream, who relocated to the docks future campus/CBD from the Airport Business Park.

Meanwhile, in recent weeks, the IDA and Government leaders including Taoiseach Micheal Martin have welcomed the 100-jobs’ bonus for Cork for Alter Domus.

In a widely welcomed kick-off to the year in a globally troubled economy, Alter Domus confirmed it was adding 100 jobs to its Cork operation,  having added 80 others in Dublin and Cork in 2020, and is now heading up to employing 300 in Ireland after a decade’s presence in Ireland in the finance and aircraft leasing sectors.

Alter Domus is leasing 20,268 sq ft at Building 2600 with landlords Yew Grove REIT, who bought the 41,000 sq ft building for €7.5m after it was vacated by Clearstream DB. Savills Cork acted for landlords Yew Grove REIT, securing a headline rent of €16.50 psf on a 15-year lease, with parking.

Agent Niall Guerin of Savills noted Alter Domus was both a boost for the city and for the Airport Business Park where it joined the likes of other international occupiers such as Amazon, Open Text, Red Hat, Logitech, and BNY Mellon.

DETAILS: Alter Domus: Savills 021-4271371



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