Entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Sean Gallagher has teamed up with Colm Piercy, the founder and chief executive of the Digiweb Group, to form a property venture which has already acquired one million square feet of office space.
Clyde Real Estate has bought two of the biggest buildings in Ireland: the 300,000 square foot former headquarters of Alcatel Lucent in Dublin 15 and the 230,000 square foot former Braun facility in Carlow.
Gallagher told The Sunday Business Post that Clyde was raising €25 million to build up an office and commercial property portfolio, primarily in Ireland, but also overseas.
“We are focused on acquiring substantial office and commercial properties which will be made available to meet the growing needs of indigenous Irish companies, corporates and multinational firms seeking to establish or expand their operations here,” Gallagher said.
He said Clyde was in talks with multinationals about locating in Ireland, as well as with Irish companies. Existing tenants include Citibank, Alcatel Lucent, Viatel, Ask.com and Paragon Global Resources.
Gallagher said Clyde was working on plans to turn the former Braun facility in Carlow, which it acquired from Proctor and Gamble, into a new corporate and technology park for the south-east.
“It is a 30-acre site so there is huge potential,” Gallagher said. “This could become somewhere capable of supporting thousands of jobs.”
Gallagher, the former chief executive of home technology company Smarthomes, said he had been friends with Piercy for many years before the two decided to go into business.
Gallagher is chief executive of Clyde, while Piercy is its chairman.
“Clyde Real Estate is a business-led property venture that has been founded by experienced business builders,” Gallagher said. “Each of us has grown our own technology companies and we feel uniquely placed to understand the flexible and high specification accommodation needs of modern business.
“The lack of high-quality office and commercial space in many areas of the country has been identified by the National Competitiveness Council and the IDA as posing a serious threat to Ireland’s ability to continue to attract foreign direct investment into these locations,” Gallagher added. “In developing Clyde Real Estate, we are acutely aware that providing strategically well located facilities is key to being able to sustain Ireland’s economic growth.
“In particular, we are currently focused on acquiring quality assets in towns and cities where there are universities and institutes of technology that can provide a steady supply of talent to companies choosing to set up in these locations.”