April 4, 2014
The Liberties area of Dublin is set to benefit from an investment of over €40 million as a result of a new property development by Knightsbridge Student Housing (KSHL) at The Digital Hub. Details of the project were announced today (24.03.14) by the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) and KHSL.
The project is expected to create up to 300 jobs in construction in the short-term, and will result in the creation of an additional 10,650 square feet of enterprise office space at The Digital Hub, as well as a housing development for almost 500 students on Bonham Street in Dublin 8. Knightsbridge Student Housing Ltd is behind the development. It is a UK-based company, backed by Oaktree Capital Management, which specialises in the development of high-quality student accommodation across the UK and Europe.
Announcing details of the project at The Digital Hub today, Edel Flynn, Chief Executive Officer of the DHDA, said: “The Digital Hub is continuing to grow and add value to the wider economy and, as such, we are delighted to announce this development with Knightsbridge Student Housing Ltd. This appears to be one of the most significant office space developments of recent years in Dublin and the entire project will create up to 300 construction jobs, giving a much-needed boost to the sector.
“Currently, the Digital Hub campus has high occupancy, so it is great that new office space will be available soon to cater for the ongoing demand we experience for space from growing digital enterprises. The refurbishment will preserve the Grainstore building into the future and will provide digital companies with the opportunity to locate their office space in a unique setting. We look forward to welcoming more companies into our vibrant cluster of over 70 enterprises.
“This also marks an important milestone in the development of The Digital Hub and a major investment in the Dublin 8 community. It will have a positive impact not only on our campus but on The Liberties as a whole. In the short-term, the development will bring much-needed investment and employment to this area. In the longer term, it will see Dublin 8 animated by the presence of more digital entrepreneurs and workers, and hundreds of third-level students. This will contribute – in a sustained way – to the ongoing development of the local economy.”
Background to the Project
In September 2012, the DHDA sought expressions of interest from investors seeking to develop a section of the Digital Hub site adjacent to Bonham Street. Under the terms of the project, Knightsbridge Student Housing Ltd. acquired a 1.19-acre site for the provision of high-quality student accommodation. Work on the student housing development is expected to commence in August of this year, and it is hoped the first students will be in residence by September 2016. Knightsbridge will invest an estimated €40 million in developing the scheme, which will consist of 125,000 square feet catering to almost 500 third-level students.
As part of the project, Knightsbridge will also refurbish a 19th Century Grainstore building on the Digital Hub campus. It is believed the building was originally part of the historic Marshalsea debtors’ prison located in The Liberties. It subsequently served as a grainstore for the Roe Distillery. The refurbishment will require an investment of €3.51 million, and will provide The Digital Hub with an additional 10,650 square feet of enterprise office space. Work on the refurbishment will commence in May, and is expected to be complete within a year.
Knightsbridge Student Housing will work with Bennett Construction to develop both the Grainstore building and the student housing.
At today’s announcement, Bob Crompton, CEO of Knightsbridge Student Housing, said: “Although we have a strong presence in four European markets, this development is our first entry into the Irish Higher Education Sector, so it is a really exciting move for us. Our aim is to provide high-quality, service-led student accommodation, and we believe Dublin 8 provides a perfect location for that. It makes good sense to locate student housing close to a project such as The Digital Hub, where growing enterprises are constantly on the lookout for new talent.
“Many of the best-established educational institutions in Dublin are within walking distance of this site, and there is a long history of creativity, innovation and enterprise in the Liberties area. Dublin universities are competing in a global market to attract the brightest young minds from around the world. This facility will help to make Dublin the first choice for students wishing to study abroad. We look forward to working with the Digital Hub Development Agency and the other stakeholders in this project over the next two years.”
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD – who’s Department has oversight for The Digital Hub – officiated at today’s event.
Minister Rabbitte commented on the announcement: “The property investment announced today is excellent news, both for The Digital Hub and the wider Liberties, and I look forward to seeing the renewed energy that both young students and digital entrepreneurs will bring to the area.
The Minister went on to say: “It should come as no surprise that it is the Digital Hub that is behind a project that is startling in its innovation and efficiency.”
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisin Quinn, also officiated at today’s event.
Further information about The Digital Hub and the new property development is available at www.thedigitalhub.com.