International: Who Bought Facebook’s European HQs?

A German investor has bought a portfolio dubbed “the most significant” that came on the market in 2014.

By Adriana Pop, Associate EditorGrand Canal Square Office Complex in Dublin - Facebook European HQ

In an approximately €230 million (about $250 million) deal, Union Investment Real Estate has acquired the European headquarters of Facebook, which is located in the 4 + 5 Grand Canal Square office complex in Dublin.

The Hamburg-based company purchased the asset from a partnership between Irish project developer Chartered Land and the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind and completed in 2009, the property comprises two buildings that combined offer more than 250,000 square feet (23,300 square meters) of space and have an average remaining lease term of more than ten years. According to the Property Mall, they were brought to market last November by CBRE and JLL as the main assets of The Tara Collection sale. At the time, the portfolio was dubbed “the most significant” to be brought to the market in 2014.

Located in the heart of Dublin’s South Docklands, one of the Irish capital’s prime office addresses, the 4 + 5 Grand Canal Square complex includes 147 parking spaces and boasts a BREEAM sustainability rating of “Excellent.”

Facebook occupies both buildings under two separate leases. Together, the facilities form the company’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa headquarters and mark its largest presence outside of the United States.

Starting in January 2014, Facebook leased building Number 4, which totals 122,894 square feet, for 15 years at an annual rental rate of about $4.88 million (€4.5 million). The company has also recently agreed to occupy the adjoining Number 5, which offers 127,628 square feet of space, at an annual rent of approximately $6.5 million (€5.99 million). The lease term extends for 15 years, starting May 2015.

In recent years, South Docklands has become a desirable location for large companies, as well as a vibrant district with hotels, restaurants and cultural venues such as the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

The complex will now join the portfolio of open-ended real estate fund Unilmmo: Europa, for which Union Investment recently secured a 50 percent stake in the Watermark Place office building in London.

“We are delighted that our Europe fund is now exposed to Ireland with the acquisition of what are currently the most prestigious office buildings in Dublin’s Docklands,” said Philip La Pierre, head of Investment Management Europe. “Ireland’s economic recovery is evident in the steady growth in rents, which looks set to continue over the next few years. The favorable euro/dollar exchange rate should provide a further boost to Ireland’s export-focused economy.”