GOOGLE CLOSE TO €120m PURCHASE OF TREASURY BUILDING - Google is closing in on the purchase for about €120 million of the Treasury Building on Dublin's Grand Canal Street. 

The US-headquartered tech giant's acquisition of the property follows more than two years of negotiations with its owners, developers Johnny Ronan, Paddy McKillen and Percy Nominees. All three parties will be in line for a significant return on the sale of their respective stakes in the building once the sale is completed. Ronan acquired the former Boland's Mill building originally in 1984 for just £400,000, says the Irish Times. Percy Nominees, an investment vehicle controlled by Davy, bought its one-third stake in the property when Ronan began redeveloping it in 1989. Ambiorix, a company controlled by Ronan; Paddy McKillen's son, Paddy jnr; and Mr McKillen's co-director Liam Cunningham. Mr Ronan and Mr McKillen's company continues to retain a combined 66.67% interest in the Treasury Building while Percy Nominees owns the remaining 33.33% share. While the Treasury Building has long been known as the headquarters of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), in the years following the crash it came to be identified as the home of the National Asset Management Agency. The agency's near decade-long association with the 11,619sq m (125,066 sq ft) property came to an end in recent months, however, following the relocation of its operations to the NTMA's new offices at Dublin Landings, the major mixed-use scheme developed by Ballymore and its partners Oxley in the north docklands.

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IRELAND SET FOR BOOM IN DATA CENTRE FUNDING - The vast majority of debt and equity investors expect funding into European data centres to increase over the next two years, according to research from law firm DLA Piper. 

Data centres are used by businesses for the remote storage, processing and distribution of large amounts of information. They are estimated to use 3-4% of the world's power, according to a report from Savills. Of the eight countries examined, Ireland was among the top three expected to experience the biggest growth in investment, writes the Irish Independent. There are currently 54 data centres here, with 642 megawatts (MW) of grid-connected power capacity. Last month, the 'Sunday Independent' reported that EngineNode, an Irish data centre company, had applied for planning permission to build a huge data storage campus near Bracetown, Co Meath, believed to involve an investment worth "hundreds of millions of euro". The company, established last year, was set up by Jason O'Conaill, Eir's former head of data centres and founder of Amazon Web Services Usergroup Ireland, and Ronan Kneafsey, a former managing director of telecoms and data centres at Eir. John Magee, partner at DLA Piper in Ireland, said: "It's no surprise to see Ireland in the top three jurisdictions predicted to see the biggest growth in data centre project investment over the next two years. Ireland has become a strategic global and regional hub for data-rich businesses in sectors such as technology, life sciences and financial services."

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CORK GREYHOUND STADIUM POSTS €230,000 LOSS - Operating losses at the company which runs Cork City's greyhound stadium fell slightly last year, despite a marked decrease in activity. 

The latest annual accounts for the Cork Greyhound Race Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the sport's governing body, Bord na gCon, recorded operating losses of €229,248 in 2018, down from €234,345 the previous year. The number of race meetings held at the Curraheen Park track in Bishopstown in 2018 was 103, down from 130 the previous year with a related decrease in the number of individual races from 1,310 to 1,126.
As a result, overall turnover at the stadium decreased by 19% to €559,874 with gate receipts down 25% to €280,755, says the Irish Examiner. The total number of staff employed at the track last year was 13, including seven part-time employees. The second biggest source of income was the concession fee of €113,671it received from Abargrove, another subsidiary of Bord na gCon which operates catering facilities at greyhound stadia around the country, Total prize money paid out last year was over €695,000 - down from €734,00 in 2017.

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SKY TO CREATE 2,000 JOBS WITH NEW ELSTREE TV AND FILM STUDIO - Sky has unveiled plans to build a Hollywood-style film studio in north London, creating more than 2,000 jobs, as the pay-TV company steps up its fight against streaming giants Netflix and Amazon. 

The 13-hectare (32-acre) studio complex will be built in Elstree, just down the road from Elstree Studios where rival Netflix shoots flagship series The Crown, and will open in early 2022, subject to planning permission. Sky Studios Elstree will become the European production base for Sky and NBCUniversal, which owns The Fast and the Furious maker Universal Studios, as both are owned by the US pay-TV giant Comcast. Sky said the studio complex, which it hopes will also become a base for other companies’ projects, will result in £3 billion being spent on TV and film productions in its first five years, says today's Guardian. "This was an opportunity to build something brand new, state of the art and at scale," said the Sky Studios chief executive, Gary Davey. "It is a big enough site to attract very high-end production in both TV and film from all over the world. We are going to fill this thing with projects of all kinds. It means a huge number of new jobs and new investment."