Monday 17 December 2018

Plans for U2 visitor centre branded 'oppressive and unattractive'

An artist’s impression of the proposed visitor centre at Hanover Quay. Photo: ODAA
An artist’s impression of the proposed visitor centre at Hanover Quay. Photo: ODAA

Gordon Deegan

U2's planned visitor centre has been branded "oppressive and unattractive" with concerns it will have "a devastating impact" on Dublin's Docklands.

That is the damning verdict on the planned centre by consultants for property investment firm Carysfort Capital, which is leading the charge against the centre for Hanover Quay getting the green light from Dublin City Council.

The deadline for objections has just passed and joining Carysfort Capital in opposing the plan are 63 residents from Hanover Quay. The four-storey building will include a reconstruction of the band's original studio and various themed exhibit areas, featuring the Music Room and Larry's Kitchen.

The application by Paddy McKillen Snr's Golden Brook Ltd and U2's MHEC Ltd also includes a cafe, auditorium, reception and area for selling merchandising.

The promoters state that the centre will make Dublin's Docklands a "destination experience for the millions of U2 fans around the world".

However, in the objection lodged on their behalf by the board of 5-7 Hanover Quay (Residential) Management Company CLG, the 63 residents argue that the proposed centre "will create significant amenity issues for adjoining properties, including overshadowing of apartments".

U2 in concert. Photo: Danny North
U2 in concert. Photo: Danny North

The residents state that the planned visitor centre "is wholly unsuitable at this location".

In total, the application is facing 10 objections against and six submissions in favour.

In June, Carysfort Capital purchased the nearby 120-apartment development Six Hanover Quay (6HQ) for €101m, working out at €800,000 per unit.

The block is currently being built and overlooks the U2 site.

The former studio as it looks now. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
The former studio as it looks now. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

However, the plan has the backing of Fáilte Ireland, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF).

They have all lodged submissions in support of the planned centre. The chief executive of Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Mary Rose Burke, has told the council that it "believes the proposed development will significantly enhance Dublin's tourism offering".

A decision is due on the application later this month.

Irish Independent

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