CENTRAL BANK CLOSE TO SEEKING PLANNING FOR €140m HEADQUARTERS - The Central Bank is expected to submit a planning application for its new headquarters, which will cost an estimated €140 million, within days. The bank plans to include a fine mesh facade made of anodised metal on the exterior of the building that was originally intended as a new headquarters for Anglo Irish Bank, says the Irish Times. John Mulcahy, head of asset management at Nama, described the existing Anglo shell along Dublin’s river Liffey last September as like “a burnt-out tank on the road to Kuwait”. The cost of the Central Bank’s new highly-designed exterior will reduce its annual running costs and give it a building energy rating of A2, making it one of the most energy efficient in the State. The Central Bank will include a central concourse making parts of its ground floor accessible to the public following discussions with Ali Grehan, the chief architect with Dublin City Council. The 22,500sq m Docklands building is designed by Henry J Lyons and is intended to complement the Criminal Courts of Justice building further along the Liffey, which was also designed by the Irish architects.
RENT AND ENERGY COSTS TOO HIGH, US CHAMBER PRESIDENT WARNS - High rents in Dublin, rising energy bills and expensive labour costs need to be kept down to encourage US multinationals invest in Ireland, the new president of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland has warned, says the Irish Independent. Louise Phelan, Vice President of Global Operations in Europe, the Middle East & Africa at PayPal, said renewed price pressures in the Dublin property market was an issue requiring urgent attention. "Even before the recovery began there was a debate around the need for a greater supply of high-quality office accommodation for modern technology-driven businesses establishing here," she said. "If this shortage is compounded by significant price rises we will be sending the wrong message to potential investors." The US chamber represents the interests of 700 multinationals which employ more than 115,000 people nationwide. Ms Phelan said investment in Ireland by US multinational companies remained strong, with firms making 118 investments last year, accounting for 72% of all IDA announcements.
ALLSOP SPACE REPORTS PROFIT OF €400,000 - Allsop Space, the auction house for distressed properties, recorded profits of almost €400,000 in its second year operating in Ireland. The Irish Examiner says that accounts filed with the Companies Office show the Dublin-based Allsop Space Ltd increased its profits to €387,693 in the 12 months to the end of March 31. Last year’s performance represents a 26% increase on the €307,011 profit recorded in the firm’s first year. The profit resulted in accumulated profits standing at €694,704 at the end of March last year, while the firm’s cash pile more than doubled to €767,807 The business’s first Irish auction at the Shelbourne Hotel in Apr 2011 needed gardaí to control the crowds that attended. The growing demand for the firm’s auctions has resulted in the company now staging them at the RDS. Allsop Space is a 50/50 venture between UK auction house Allsop and Dublin-based property consultants Space. Yesterday, Robert Hoban, director at Allsop Space, said the increased profit “reflects the growing popularity of our auctions and a slight improvement in the property market here”.
DENIS O'BRIEN PLANS "MASSIVE" TELECOMS PUSH - Denis O’Brien, one of Ireland’s richest businessmen, will launch a “massive push” this year to expand his global telecoms business into next-generation mobile and fixed line services, writes the Financial Times. Digicel, his Caribbean and Central American telecoms group, will invest about $500m in its network in a year when Mr O’Brien said he anticipates a change in the “world order” of the telecoms market. This could have an impact on Cable & Wireless Communications, Digicel’s closest rival, which Mr O’Brien ruled out making a takeover bid for. “We’re surging capex this year,” he said. “We think there’s great opportunities to go for more market share and new products. We have a massive push.” However, the media and telecoms billionaire will still take a hefty payout from the business even after the investment plans. Digicel is expected to pay a $650m dividend to Mr O’Brien, who owns about 94% of the private group, although it is headed by chief executive Colm Delves.