Facebook has decided not to occupy Fibonacci Square, the 34,838sq m (375,000sq ft) office space developed by Johnny Ronan’s RGRE as part of the tech giant’s new European headquarters in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
Having signed a 25-year lease on the property in November 2018, the company’s parent, Meta has now instructed agent Cushman & Wakefield to sublet all four of the newly developed blocks to a new occupier or occupiers.
The news of Meta’s decision to sublet the space is unsurprising, coming as it does at time of turbulence and retrenchment among tech companies worldwide.
Meta announced that it would cut around 350 jobs in Ireland last month as part of global cutbacks, while Twitter has confirmed 140 redundancies in the wake of Elon Musk’s takeover.
The Facebook owner will still occupy the 31,536sq m (339,456sq ft) of office space across the four blocks to the rear of its new European headquarter campus in Ballsbridge.
The office blocks are in the Dublin Bay South constituency of Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik.
She said the news that Meta will not occupy the buildings is “symptomatic from what I’m hearing about a slow-down in the pipeline of big construction projects as we’re seeing increasing uncertainty among investors and among developers about the economic situation.”
She said: “I do hope they can find alternative tenants precisely because I’m conscious in my own constituency how many people are employed directly by the big tech tech companies”.
Ms Bacik added: “For those working in these firms I think it’s really uncertain time” and the recent job losses in the sector have been “a huge worry to many people”.
Asked if Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is concerned at the news, a spokesman for the Department of Enterprise said he was “of course concerned” at recent developments in the tech sector but that the economy is “well-diversified”.
He added: ”The Department and its agencies are in close contact with companies involved in recent job loss announcements and we are working with them to minimise the impact on people’s livelihoods and the wider economy.”
It remains unclear at this point what impact, if any, Meta’s decision will have on the much-anticipated sale of Fibonacci Square to the family firm of Zara founder Amancio Ortega. While Pontegadea had been due to exchange contracts with the scheme’s owners, Fortress, four weeks ago, the signing was delayed as the blocks had not yet reached practical completion. The Irish Times understands that, as of Thursday, the deal with Pontegadea remains on track for a price of about €525 million.
Should Mr Ortega’s family firm proceed with its purchase of Fibonacci Square, it would be guaranteed at least 15 years of rental income from Meta, with an additional 10 years of income from the social media giant in prospect after that.