Apple secures significant new office space in Cork city

Three storeys of Bam/Clarendon's new HQ development has enough space for 350 to 400 additional employees initially
Apple secures significant new office space in Cork city

Apple has signed a deal to lease the top three floors of the new Horgan’s Quay/HQ development. Picture: Larry Cummins

A NEW office development on Cork city’s north quay has landed ‘the Big Apple’ – the Horgan’s Quay/HQ development next to Kent rail station has done a deal on over 36,000 sq ft of offices for tech giant Apple, which already employs c 6,000 in the city at two other locations.

In nailing the prestigious deal with Apple, Horgan’s Quay developer Clarendon Properties and BAM have pipped competing developers’ O’Callaghan Properties’ offices scheme Navigation Square, on the opposite side of the Lee on Albert Quay.

Apple is this month closing out a deal for enough space for 350 to 400 additional employees initially, at Horgan’s Quay, in the top three floors of building No 1. The high-spec, energy-efficient building is ready for occupation/fit-out, overlooks the River Lee and is adjacent to the new 120-bed Dean Hotel.

The Apple deal has options for further space if and when required within the scheme which will have 300,000 sq ft of offices in all, and has planning permission also for 325 apartments, as well as the hotel, retail and new plaza in an evolving public transport hub.

The mixed-use €160 million Horgan’s Quay development is being delivered on a CIE-owned six-acre river-fronting site by Clarendon Properties and BAM. They have just won the year-long low-key battle to woo and win the city’s largest private employer Apple which is continuing its growth trajectory: it employs c 6,000 in Cork where it has its European HQ since 1980, and employs 147,000 globally.

Apple had started 2020 with a discrete inquiry for up to 100,000 sq ft of new Cork offices, but its hunt was curtailed a year ago by the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic virus.

The company then reactivated its additional space requirement for further city offices in recent months but reduced its immediate demand by over 50% to 40,000-50,000 sq ft.

The tech monolith invested €220 million in the past three years extending its Hollyhill campus on the city’s northside, and it also has 55,000 sq ft of city centre offices at Half Moon Street, developed by O’Callaghan Properties in the 2000s.

Apple is now set to land at the eight-story No 1 Horgan’s Quay, a 90,000 sq ft block incorporating a former rail goods building beside the new public realm plaza. Design is by O’Mahony Pike Architects, with Savills and Cushman & Wakefield acting for the developers, and Cushman & Wakefield also acted separately for Apple. Quoted rent level were c €32 per square foot.

This building, No 1, already is set to house serviced offices provider Spaces, which committed to 30,000 sq ft in a pre-let in 2019 and is awaiting the lifting of restrictions in the Coronavirus’s third lockdown to enable final fit-out of its offices.

BAM/Clarendon’s mixed-use scheme with its 300,000 sq ft of offices is next to the 80%-let 250,000 sq ft Penrose Dock development by JCD Group, which didn’t have enough available space for Apple this year.

Both Horqans’ Quay and Navigation Square (which is currently anchored by finance sector firm Clearstream and which will have 310,000 sq ft of offices across four buildings when complete, being let by Savills and CBRE) were both able to accommodate Apple’s 2020/2021 offices search.

A request to Apple for comment was unanswered by this Monday, while strict non-disclosure agreements prohibited parties to the just-agreed deal from confirming details. An observer, who asked not to be identified, said: "in the bigger picture it doesn't matter which development got the deal Apple, the main point is, it's great news for the city centre and for development into the docklands."

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