Face­book move to Bank­cen­tre site will open door for 5,000 jobs

So­cial me­dia gi­ant will quadru­ple its Dublin space at Balls­bridge AIB Com­pany will em­ploy more than 4,000 in Ire­land by end of year

The Irish Times - Business - - FRONT PAGE - CIARÁN HAN­COCK Busi­ness Edi­tor

So­cial me­dia gi­ant Face­book has agreed terms to lease the high-pro­file 14-acre Bank­cen­tre cam­pus in Balls­bridge, Dublin 4, which will al­low it to add 5,000 staff to its Ir­ish op­er­a­tion in the com­ing years.

The move to a new in­ter­na­tional head­quar­ters in Dublin will re­sult in Face­book qua­dru­pling its cur­rent floor space to 870,000 sq ft across a num­ber of build­ings on a site that is cur­rently oc­cu­pied by AIB, which it­self is re­lo­cat­ing its op­er­a­tion.

In to­tal the Balls­bridge cam­pus will be able to ac­com­mo­date more than 7,000 em­ploy­ees. Face­book plans to de­velop the site over the next three years, with the first group of staff due to move there in late March or April next year.

The com­pany, founded by tech en­tre­pre­neur Mark Zucker­berg, plans to re­lo­cate the 2,200 staff from its Grand Canal Square build­ing in Dublin’s south docks.

More than 60 Face­book teams will even­tu­ally be lo­cated in Balls­bridge, with the com­pany tak­ing leases from the var­i­ous land­lords for more than 20 years. It will also be home to staff work­ing for its sub­sidiary ap­pli­ca­tions: What­sApp, In­sta­gram and Mes­sen­ger, and its Ocu­lus vir­tual re­al­ity unit.

Ir­ish com­mit­ment

Gareth Lambe, head of of­fice for Face­book in Ire­land, said the move gives Face­book a “lot of room for growth, and an abil­ity to plan strate­gi­cally” for the fu­ture here.

“By 2022 we will have all of our full-time em­ploy­ees [in Dublin] lo­cated there,” he said. “We were very keen to take the whole cam­pus and to have our fu­ture here for the next decades cop­per­fas­tened. Our chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, [David Wehner], was very sup­port­ive of this huge in­vest­ment and we’re very grate­ful for that. It’s a great sig­nal of our in­tent and com­mit­ment to Ire­land.”

Mr Lambe said the cam­pus would pro­vide staff with a “state-of-the-art, mod­ern work en­vi­ron­ment with lots of col­lab­o­ra­tive spa­ces, train­ing spa­ces and an out­door plaza with seat­ing ar­eas”. It will also have a di­rect con­nec­tion with the Lans­downe Road Dart sta­tion.

By the end of this year, Face­book will have more than 4,000 em­ploy­ees in Ire­land across four lo­ca­tions – Grand Canal Square, Sa­muel Beck­ett Build­ing in Dublin 3, Clonee Data Cen­tre in Meath and Face­book Re­al­ity Labs in Cork.

Mr Lambe said Face­book’s in­vest­ment across the var­i­ous sites would amount to “hun­dreds of mil­lions” of euro over time.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions on the Balls­bridge site, op­po­site the RDS, have been un­der way for more than a year, with Face­book agree­ing terms with AIB, a group of in­vestors in­volv­ing Davy clients and the Ser­pen­tine con­sor­tium, and Johnny Ro­nan and Colony Cap­i­tal, who are de­vel­op­ing Fi­bonacci Square at the front of the cam­pus.

‘Land­mark day’

Min­is­ter for Busi­ness, En­ter­prise and In­no­va­tion Heather Humphreys de­scribed the move as a “land­mark day” for the com­pany, which es­tab­lished its in­ter­na­tional head­quar­ters in Dublin in 2008.

“With­out a doubt, this ex­pan­sion is a huge vote of con­fi­dence in Ire­land and our pro-en­ter­prise poli­cies,” she said. “Above all, it is a tes­ta­ment to the cal­i­bre of our rich pool of tal­ent, who have con­trib­uted so pos­i­tively to the com­pany’s global growth.”

Face­book’s Ir­ish unit plays a cen­tral role in its global oper­a­tions with en­gi­neers, safety ex­perts, le­gal pro­fes­sion­als, pol­icy ex­perts, and mar­ket­ing and sales teams cov­er­ing many facets of the so­cial net­work.

Global and re­gional teams run from here in­clude the global gam­ing team and the unit that helps small and medium-sized busi­nesses across Europe, Mid­dle East and Africa.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions on the site at Balls­bridge have been un­der way for more than a year

PHO­TO­GRAPH: CYRIL BYRNE

Face­book’s of­fices at Grand Canal Square, Dublin.

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