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Google plays down planning application for Dublin retail store

Although Google has sought planning permission for a small retail store, it says it’s not planning to open one for the time being.

Google's offices at Gordon House on Barrow St. The firm has sought planning permission to redevelop the Montevetro building across the street, but want to retain permission for a public 'retail store'.
Google's offices at Gordon House on Barrow St. The firm has sought planning permission to redevelop the Montevetro building across the street, but want to retain permission for a public 'retail store'.
Image: Photocall Ireland

GOOGLE HAS PLAYED down suggestions that it was planning to open a retail store in Dublin – saying that the plans have been included in a planning application merely to keep its options open.

A planning application lodged by Google for one of its three Dublin buildings – which acts as the company’s headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa – included a reference to a “permitted retail unit fronting onto Barrow Street to accommodate business partners and contributors area”.

“A retail unit is permitted in the existing scheme with direct frontage to Barrow Street,” Google’s planning application said, continuing:

“Under the current application it is proposed to retain this unit in retail use, and to utilise the unit as a Google Store selling Google merchandise. The store will be open to the public.”

The reference was part of a larger planning application submitted by Google in November to refit its Montevetro building on Barrow St, bought from NAMA for €99.9 million last year, with a swimming pool and staff gym.

The works are being undertaken by Google in order to make the building suitable for long-term use, and to provide further perks for a workforce of up to 3,000 people.

Bloomberg had speculated that the store could be Google’s first foray into public retail, and be potentially used for direct sale of mobile phones and netbooks – with Google having recently acquired Motorola’s mobile arm, and unveiling its ‘Chromebook’ machines.

This morning, however, a spokesperson has poured cold water on the speculation, saying it was more likely that the store would follow the formula of on-site stores in the US merely sell branded products like t-shirts and pens – if, indeed, the store would open at all.

“We have the option of a small space doing the same in our Dublin office, but we’ve not made any decisions,” a spokesperson told tech news site Mashable.

“It’s simply a planning application.”

Google had not responded to similar requests for comment from TheJournal.ie at the time of publication.

More: YouTube gets 4 billion views every day

Read: 14 things every Google employee must do before they quit

More: Google set to build swimming pool for Irish staff

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Gavan Reilly

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