Good news for those property professionals who have been having sleepless nights at the dwindling vacant office space in Dublin city centre – still over 20% though somehow the property companies are trying to convince us that 15% is the new 5% normal vacancy level. Junior finance minister at Brendan Howlin’s Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Brian Hayes yesterday told the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland that “being blunt, there is much greater value on the outskirts of Dublin and if we are serious about saving money not all functions need to be city centre based” So any imminent shortages in the Dublin city centre office market might be alleviated!
The junior minister was referring to plans to cut the Government’s expenditure on accommodation in its 2,200 buildings of which 900 are leased by the State at an annual cost of €112m in 2012 which the Minister wants cut to below €100m in 2015. Within certain echelons of official Ireland, eyebrows have been raised at the continued occupation of prestigious Dublin city centre buildings when rents can be 70% less just a 20-minute Luas jaunt away. It’s unclear when the NTMA’s lease on its HQ at Treasury Buildings expires or if the present receiverships of Treasury companies may affect the expiry date, but is there any reason it can’t be moved, perhaps closer to Dublin airport to facilitate meetings with all these international investors that NAMA keeps talking about – apparently there are locations available in Balbriggan and Swords!
We should not be surprised that the State’s property bill is coming down – the public sector employed 320,000 people in 2008 and it is intended that this should fall to 282,500 by the end of 2014. The Minister also referred to other streamlining measures in his speech. The Minister also referred to the construction sector and whilst we all accept that the sector in still on the floor, there were some rays of home given with accommodation needs for new enterprise.
The transcript of the Minister’s speech is here. Those attending were seemingly impressed by the Minister’s grasp of map-based inventories, standardised fitouts and other technical issues.