The Force is with South Mall reboot

September 6, 2018

A €1bn Texas-based cybersecurity company, Forcepoint, is to occupy two floors of Cork city centre’s new office block, 85 South Mall, intensifying the 21st-century tech corridor on the southern capital’s most traditional business, banking, commerce and services boulevard.

Confirmation of Forcepoint’s commitment and set to bring 100 jobs means the John Cleary Developments (JCD) investment in a Gold LEED 46,000sq ft office building, the first new build on the street in decades, will be fully let when completed and handed over in Q1 2019.

Austin Texas-based Forcepoint joins KPMG at 85 South Mall, where scaffolding came down in recent days, revealing a contemporary construction at ease on an historic trading street with 200-year-old neighbours. KPMG have taken 30,000sq ft at 85 South Mall, and may sub-let some 9,000sq ft of that: it is relocating from 89/90 South Mall, a 1970s building acquired by JCD several years ago for about €4m and steadily being upgraded.

Forcepoint, which employs over 2,200 globally with 22,000 clients in 150 countries, opened a centre of excellence with an initial 40 employees in Cork, at the JCD-developed One Albert Quay office building in June, praising the role of the IDA in facilitating their arrival to Ireland. It brings to well over 1,000 the number employed in Cork in the cybersecurity sector.

Focusing on greenfield software development, the company says its Cork operation “is set to become a centre of excellence for new product development in the cloud and endpoint cybersecurity technology space”. It is actively recruiting in roles such as development and QA managers, product managers, cloud operations, technical leads, developers and testers.

Its new Cork base at 85 South Mall, via contractors Hegartys, is on target to be weatherproofed by the end of October, and KPMG and Forcepoint are expected to move in during Q1 next year, with significant public realm improvements promised along Phoenix St, Crane Lane and Smith St linking to Oliver Plunkett St, adding to core city rejuvenation at South Mall and the Grand Parade — where it’s understopod Facebook is taking additional space at the JCD Capitol building, moving to a further floor of accommodation.

Technology companies that have favourved city centre workspaces include Eventbrite at 97 South Mall, Cylance, NgiNX, Facebook and AlienVault (recently acquired by AT&T) and Huawei at Grand Parade, and Keeper Security on South Mall/Parliament St.

The Republic of Work co-working space on South Mall has also added to the sense of a new, emerging tech corridor in the city centre, with other co-working company arrivals expected during 2019.

JCD spokesperson expressed delight at the success of the lettings at 85 South Mall, which they said will be able to accommodate up to 450 people when fully occupied.

“It is a great endorsement in Cork city centre to have a world class company, such as Forcepoint chose to locate a centre of excellence here, as well as KPMG’s ongoing investment.”

Cork has up to one million square feet of offices in the pipeline, 755,000 of that in the city centre and including on the south and north quays, with JCD aiming to build 250,000sq ft at Penrose Dock, Penrose Quay, next to the HQ mixed use development on the rail station site to be developed by Clarendon and BAM.

According to JCD “in recent years, we have seen increased demand from companies looking to have offices close to all the amenities the city centre has to offer. These two companies are looking to attract the best talent in their respective fields and believe that this building and central location will assist them in this task. Its location right next to the busy shops, bars and restaurants of Oliver Plunkett St and St Patrick’s St is a big selling point when attracting and retaining staff.”

Commenting on behalf of the Cork Business Association, Lawrence Owens said: “We’re delighted with the news of JCD’s 46,500 sq ft office development at 85 South Mall. The building has been expertly designed so as to fit very naturally into its surroundings on this historic business street. The street is steeped in tradition and this fantastic new development will provide 450 jobs in the heart of the city which is a very welcome boost indeed. The development at 85 South Mall will inject great vibrancy to the area and we are very much looking forward to the completion of this next generation sustainable building.”