TikTok has cited security considerations as to why its expanding Irish base will not be allowing the public access to its planned café/restaurant at its Dublin offices.
In a letter to Dublin City Council as part of a new planning application, the billionaire co-founder of social media giant, ByteDance which owns TikTok, Rubo Liang has outlined the firm’s rationale as to why it will not be proceeding with its planned public accessible café/restaurant.
TikTok’s expansion here includes new office space at the IPUT-owned Tropical Fruit Warehouse (TFW) on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin’s docklands and the planning permission attached to the office development includes a ground floor café/restaurant.
However, in a two-page letter on TikTok headed paper to the Council, Mr Liang has stated that TikTok is not in a position to facilitate open public access to the planned ground floor café and requests planning permission to allow the use of the café “for employees and designated visitors to our building only”.
In his letter, Mr Liang says that TikTok is not in a position to make the café public arising from security considerations due to the sensitive nature of some of the work that will take place within the TFW building, coupled with the desire to provide openness and interaction.
Sensitive nature of work
Elaborating on Mr Liang’s security concerns, planning consultants for the application, Tom Phillips + Associates have told the council that “TikTok have important security considerations arising from the highly sensitive nature of some of the work that will place within the TFW complex and as such, is not in a position to facilitate open public access to the permitted ground floor café or indeed any public access to this part of the development”.
Director at Tom Phillips, John Gannon states that “security and data protection are of utmost importance to the company and with this in mind, TikTok is not in a position to facilitate open public access to the planned ground floor café/restaurant”.
TikTok Technology Ltd is seeking a change of use from the permitted café/restaurant to office floorspace.
Forbes Magazine has estimated that Mr Liang’s net worth is $2 billion and in his letter, Mr Liang has told the city council “we trust that you will facilitate our ambition and vision to inject new life into the surrounding area and bring a positive energy to those who work, visit and pass by the building”.
Strategically important hub
Mr Liang has told the Council that “Ireland is a strategically important hub to our global operations. Over the past three years, we’ve established and expanded a number of business critical functions here.
This includes the firm’s EMEA Trust & Safety; the company’s European Transparency and Accountability Centre; the firm’s European Privacy legal team and Office of the Data Protection Officer and the firm’s regional security organisation.
Mr Liang states that “it is essential that the fit out for our Dublin office creates a space that puts innovation and collaboration first”.
He says: “As we have leased the entire building, including the café area on the ground floor, the intention is to create a vibrant space along the facade for our staff to use for social, recreational and work collaboration processes while also creating a secure environment for our employees and our entertainment platform”.
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Advancing the case for the change of use, Director at Tom Phillips+Associates, John Gannon has also told the Council that the commercial reality is that the café site with no direct frontage on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay is not considered attractive or viable to future café/restaurant operators.
Mr Gannon says that the area is already well served by a wide range of food and beverage operators.
He states that with the subject unit remaining vacant, and with no indication that a tenant can be secured, a vacant unit in this part of Dublin would have a detrimental impact on the area in terms of animating and activating the street area.
A decision is due on the application in July.