The corner of Drury St and Fade St in a key retail area of Dublin 2 where buildings lie boarded up and unused

Prestige building owners are up against it trying to find tenants in the current economic climate and rents have been reduced as a result. Rents of close to €500 per square metre are being demanded for many empty buildings. This translates into a €2m annual rent for a high end 4,000 square metre corporate headquarters style space.

In the space of 12 months, prime headline quoting rents in Dublin have declined by more than €100 per square metre, according to a recent report by CBRE.

A stroll through Dublin last week by this reporter suggests almost one-third of all premium office space could be lying idle under 'To Let' signs in the square mile of the south city centre. Even some of the best addresses are draped in huge 'To Let' banners several stories high that during the boom would have had secured tenants before completion.

Irish commercial property values have tumbled by 40-50% in the course of a year according to recent CBRE and IPD indices and the 'Marie Celeste' levels of vacant office space reflect that.

In Dublin as a whole, office vacancy now stands at 16% according to the latest CBRE figures. Commercial property investment levels have also plummeted.

'Negotiable' is the word of the moment as developers chase the remaining tenants. Facebook for example is securing extremely attractive terms in its new lease.

Many office schemes have been shelved by developers until the economy begins to recover. Others though have pushed ahead with construction despite not having a tenant in place. Treasury Holdings for example is currently working on the €148m 14-storey Montevetro which is going up at Grand Canal Dock in Dublin 2. It is currently advertising its 19,000 square metres of space for tenants with no announced takers as yet.

Elsewhere at The Irish Times' old home on D'Olier Street, the site is being redeveloped and is due to be completed in 2010. Dubbed The Times building it is currently advertising its office and retail units which are available to let.

Georgian office space meanwhile is suffering under a sea of 'To Let' and 'For Sale' signs on and near Mount Street, Baggot Street and Harcourt Street, with as much as a third of the upscale office space at these locations standing idle, when this reporter visited the area last week. Much of one side of Lower Mount Street is vacant, including space in Ferry House for a keen €270 per square metre, and on Harcourt Street it is the same story.

Market reality means landlords are now glad to get tenants on a piecemeal basis in buildings once intended for use as all-in prestigious corporate headquarters.