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When Google announced last month it was pulling the plug on a lease for a new office space in Dublin, Ireland, it set off alarm bells.
Google is a large presence in Dublin’s “Silicon Docks,” where it holds its European headquarters, a part of the city around the docklands area where a who’s who of Big Tech are located, including Facebook, Twitter and Airbnb.
But during the coronavirus pandemic and with the need for remote working, questions are being raised about the viability of large office spaces. Google said it remains committed to Dublin — where it has over 8,000 workers — and has purchased two more buildings that it still plans to fill.
The commercial property market in Dublin slumped in the second quarter as the country was in the depths of lockdown, according to real estate firm CBRE, which reported just 15 office leasing transactions in that period.
Marie Hunt, head of research at CBRE, told CNBC there is likely to be a slowdown in new office deals in the coming months because of Covid-19, but also because “tech occupiers tend to retrench in a presidential year.”
Government agencies have been unable to carry out site visits and tours to woo companies to invest, and Hunt said this was causing a “weakening in take up.”
Shane Fleming, a property expert and the founder of Fleming Real Estate, said that this trend is not unique to Dublin but that the Irish capital still has several large office deals signed and in progress, pointing to ongoing expansions by Amazon and LinkedIn.
TikTok, according to reports, is seeking a large office space in the capital for up to 5,000 people.
Fleming added that housing shortages for workers in the city as well as planning policies