Citigroup is set to sign a €100 million deal to develop a new office site in the heart of Dublin, which will significantly increase the scale of its European headquarters as banks strengthen their presence in the EU after Brexit.
The US bank, which this year announced it would hire 300 more people in Ireland for roles in risk, audit, finance, technology and operations, searched for a suitable site after outgrew his desk and put it up for sale six months ago. .
It is in the final stages of finalizing a deal for a 300,000 square foot office in Dublin’s Docklands – home to the headquarters of tech companies including Google, Amazon and Meta – according to several people familiar with the matter.
The deal could close as early as this month, industry sources said. The site is almost a third larger than Citi’s current 230,000 square foot Dublin site.
“This process is still ongoing and we have no updates at this time,” Citi said in a statement.
Two people familiar with the bank’s plans for the Irish business said the need for a larger office in Dublin was due to plans for organic growth by the business, not relocations from London. The Irish commercial property market is recovering strongly, despite the country’s high costs.
Since Brexit, global banks have stepped up operations in Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Dublin, shifting hundreds of billions of dollars in assets from London. Around 7,000 jobs have moved from London to the EU, despite initial forecasts of tens of thousands of moves.
However, the longer-term hit for London will be hiring in places other than the UK capital.
Citi, which has been in Ireland since 1965, employs more than 2,500 people in the country and made Dublin its European headquarters in 2016 as Brexit approached. She oversees operations in 22 countries from the Irish capital.
Citi recently narrowed its search to the last major undeveloped site in Docklands, jointly owned by Irish group Ronan and US group Fortress Investment.
Ronan Group, which has built large offices for companies such as Salesforce and Facebook, declined to comment.
According to industry sources, Citi also has the right of first refusal to an additional 130,000 square feet on the same site if it decides to expand. It has put its existing 230,000 square foot Dublin office up for sale for 120 million euros.
Wall Street and City of London investment banks are under pressure from the European Central Bank to increase the staff and capital they commit to eurozone financial markets rather than relying on transactions outside the block.
In May, ECB supervisory chief Andrea Enria warned that “empty shell structures. . . are a very real concern.”
Citi’s decision to increase its office footprint in Dublin is at odds with moves by other global lenders to reduce office space as more staff work from home.
Swiss bank UBS and Société Générale de France have sublet floors at their London headquarters in response to staff taking a more flexible approach to office work.
Citi has bolstered its three main European hubs in Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris since Britain voted to leave the bloc in 2016, but has made clear its intention to maintain a large operation in London.
Citi’s largest European operations are still in London, which employs 9,000 people. The bank is giving its 42-storey headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf a £100million upgrade as part of a three-year revamp of 25 Canada Square. Citi bought the skyscraper for £1.2billion in 2019 as part of a global strategy to own, not rent, its tallest office buildings to cut costs.
Citi will not renew the lease at 33 Canada Square when it expires in five years, regrouping all staff in the main tower.
Separately, Citi UK chief James Bardrick told Bloomberg that the bank plans to hire 400 more people for its Belfast office, which employs 3,700 people and is the largest employer in city financial services.
Citi close to 100 million euro deal for new EU headquarters in Dublin