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BNP Paribas Scouts Dublin Offices as Brexit Space Squeeze Looms

  • French bank is seeking about 50,000 square feet in Dublin
  • Dublin office rents forecast to rise 8% in 2017, broker says

BNP Paribas SA is seeking about 50,000 square feet (4,600 square meters) of office space in Dublin, according to two people familiar with the matter, in a move which may intensify competition for commercial real estate after the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union.

BNP’s representatives have toured available office blocks in the city, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. BNP employs 500 people across four locations in the city, the French lender said in an e-mail response to questions.

“We constantly look at ways of optimizing our operational set up and are in the very early stages of exploring the possibility of consolidating these four offices into a single one,” BNP said. “We are not looking for additional space in Dublin and have no plans to move offices at this stage.”

BNP’s decision is unrelated to Brexit, one of the people said. Still, it may add to a squeeze on office space as a host of U.K. based companies plan to move staff to EU locations to retain market access. Tenants have already agreed to lease more than half the offices that will be completed in Dublin this year, real estate broker HWBC said this month.

Barclays Plc may move about 150 staff to Dublin, while Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group AG have considered moving some operations to Dublin. HWBC forecasts prime office rents in the city will rise 8 percent this year after 9 percent in 2016.

Click here for details on banks’ plans for after the U.K. leaves the EU

In December, Patrick Colle, chief executive of BNP Paribas Securities Services, met with Irish finance minister Michael Noonan, in a meeting organized by the Ireland’s inward investment agency.

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