Monday 23 October 2017

Tough negotiators U2 got the studio deal they were looking for

U2 bought the warehouse on Hanover Quay
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Rock band U2 played hard-ball in negotiations over the controversial purchase of the building adjacent to its recording studio.

TDs raised concerns over the sale of the warehouse by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) for just €450,000 last year, questioning whether it was undervalued.

The property on Dublin's Hanover Quay is used by the band as an ancillary recording studio and to store equipment.

However, a Dáil committee has now been told U2 were initially only willing to offer €200,000 for the building.

A final offer of €450,000 was only made after "protracted negotiations", according to a report by property firm Lambert Smith Hampton, which has been released to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee.

The DDDA has insisted it got the best possible deal for the taxpayer, despite not putting the property on the open market.

Lambert Smith Hampton said: "At the outset U2 were only prepared to put forward a proposal based on a figure of €200,000."

U2 insisted planning restrictions in the area impacted on the marketability of the property and complained about the level of rent it was paying for the warehouse. It had a €63,000-a-year rent agreement.

This was initially entered into in 2002, when the DDDA got a compulsory purchase order for the building to allow for public amenity works to take place.

The authority had planned to give the band the top two floors of a 32-storey tower. However, that project never went ahead.

In its report, Lambert Smith Hampton recommended the DDDA accept the €450,000 offer. It stated the building was "basic in structure" and agreed with U2's position that planning restrictions limited the use that could be made of the property.

It added that if the sale proceeded then "wider issues" related to the failed U2 Tower project would "cease to exist".

Irish Independent

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