Facebook has emerged as the first potential tenant of the redeveloped Capitol cinema site in the centre of Cork City as part of its expansion into virtual-reality technology, gaming, and imaging.
The US giant, which employs 15,000 people worldwide and 1,800 from more than 70 countries in Dublin’s south docklands, is in advanced discussions with property developers JCD for the top floor of the €50m office and shops Capitol scheme on St Patrick’s St and Grand Parade.
The building is due for completion and occupation from early 2017.
According to business sources, the rapidly expanding Facebook subsidiary Oculus VR which develops cutting edge virtual-reality software, equipment, and headsets and which was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for €2bn will be involved in the move to a new Cork City base.
If the deal concludes as is anticipated, it will be seen as a further huge IT/social media coup for Ireland and also for Cork, with Facebook’s interests set to span two Irish cities and showcasing Ireland’s high-end research and technology abilities.
Last month, Oculus VR bought a Cork company InfiniLED, which has developed low-energy LED technology and which has applications in future virtual-reality lighting, allowing VR headsets to be more energy efficient and lighter.
InfiniLED was spun off as a commercial entity in 2010 out of UCC’s Tyndall National Institute, and has since then been researching low-powered LED displays using ILED (inorganic light emitting diodes and displays).
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