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Minister Rabbitte announces Digital Hub Property Development Worth €40 million

Dublin, 24 March 2014

Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, T.D., today announced that the Liberties area of Dublin is set to benefit from an investment of over €40 million as a result of a new property development at The Digital Hub.

The project, which is supported by the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA), 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 470 students on Bonham Street in Dublin 8.

Minister Rabbitte said: “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 Government’s Action Plan for Jobs asks for cross‐cutting measures with the potential to have a significant impact on job creation, and this development does exactly that. 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.

I sincerely congratulate the DHDA on negotiating this deal, which will revitalise the area. The 300 construction jobs and digital enterprises supported will contribute to the economic sustainability and the regeneration of The Liberties, one of the most iconic and historically important areas of Dublin.”

Knightsbridge Student Housing Ltd. will invest substantially in this development, which will see the development of both the Grainstore building and high quality student accommodation.

Edel Flynn, Chief Executive Officer of the DHDA, said: “This 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.”

At the event this morning, Bob Crompton, CEO of Knightsbridge, 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.
ENDS



Notes to Editors:

About The Digital Hub
Based in Dublin city centre, The Digital Hub is an international centre of excellence for growing digital enterprises. It is currently home to 70 scaling digital companies, employing almost 900 people. Since the project’s inception, 170 companies have progressed through the enterprise cluster at The Digital Hub, including some now well-established names such as Distilled Media Group (Daft.ie), Havok, Houghton Mifflin (Riverdeep), Amazon, Gala Networks Europe and Kavaleer. During their time at The Digital Hub, these companies generated 2,000 highly-skilled jobs, making a significant contribution to the Irish economy. The Digital Hub Development Agency is the Irish state agency that manages The Digital Hub. Further information is available at: http://www.thedigitalhub.com/.


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 €23 million in developing the student housing, 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 €2.8 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 will work with Bennett Construction to develop both the Grainstore building and the student housing.

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