While the move has been heavily mooted, yesterday marked the first time the Central Bank formally said it was looking at the site on North Wall Quay, in Dublin’s Docklands area, as the location for its new headquarters.
The bank has signed a heads of agreement with Nama and reached a purchase price of €7m, pending due diligence and legal clearances. It is thought, however, the deal will not be fully finalised until the early part of next year. It is also likely the Central Bank will end up investing significantly more on the Liam Carroll-designed building, in terms of modifications and fit-out.
The building — which had been valued as high as €250m before the recession hit — is currently a half-built shell and has become a visual reminder of the banking sector collapse.
Construction is expected to start next year, with the Central Bank and Financial Regulator not set to move into its new headquarters until 2015.
The Central Bank has been situated on Dame St for the past 30 years, but its 1,500 staff are housed across it and three other city centre buildings, as well as the national mint in Sandyford, which is set to remain in its current location.
Regarding the existing headquarters on Dame St, a spokesperson for the Central Bank — which owns the building — said it is “very conscious” of the importance and presence of the site, and will encourage appropriate use of the building when selling the site.
With regard to the idea of the Central Bank moving to a building once earmarked for the most notorious name in Irish banking, the authority said nothing yesterday.
However, Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan recently opined that it would be better to put the building to good use rather than let it remain a monument to Ireland’s recent troubled economic past.