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Dunnes seeks refund of millions in tower row

DUNNES Stores has claimed it is entitled to rescind a €46m agreement because of an alleged abandonment of plans for two landmark docklands developments, including the 'U2 Experience'.

And it wants to be repaid millions already put on deposit into nominated accounts for works allegedly carried out under the agreement.

The U2 Experience and a 1,020m development called the WatchTower, including 31 floors of apartments, restaurant and bar/sky garden, were to form part of "an iconic landmark" in the Point Village that would be visible from all over Dublin.

The WatchTower is one of two landmark towers that were intended to form a gateway to Dublin, with a separate U2 tower planned for Hanover Quay in the docklands at the mouth of the River Liffey -- the site of the band's existing studio.

Dunnes claims the construction of the WatchTower was abandoned after the basement was built, while no arrangements have been made for construction of the U2 Experience.

The company alleges the defendants -- Point Village Development Ltd (PVD) and businessman Harry Crosbie -- in a letter of May 26, wrongfully and unlawfully purported to vary the building works by removing both developments without Dunnes' consent.

Dunnes is seeking declarations the alleged breaches of the development agreement constitute a repudiation of that agreement -- and Dunnes is therefore entitled to rescind the agreement, and to be repaid all the monies held in the nominated account.

The Commercial Court case arises from an agreement of February 27, 2008, under which Dunnes agreed it would pay €46m plus VAT for certain works as defined in a development agreement.

Dunnes claims it has to date put €23m on deposit in a nominated accounts.


A previous action by PVD and Mr Crosbie against Dunnes relating to the payment of monies was resolved last April.

It is alleged that "very significant differences" have arisen between the sides concerning the interpretation of the development agreement.

In the Commercial Court proceedings, Dunnes says PVD and Mr Crosbie have wrongfully claimed they do not require the supermarket chain's consent not to proceed with the two developments.

It is also alleged PVD has failed to satisfactorily resolve deficiencies in the planning status of the development.

The defendants had told Dunnes last March that the WatchTower and U2 Experience are separate buildings from the centre where the Dunnes flagship store at the Point Village is being constructed. It was claimed some €14m has been spent on sub-structure works at the WatchTower, but the defendants were reviewing the commercial viability of proceeding further at this time.

On May 26, PVD and Mr Crosbie wrongfully purported to vary building works by removing the WatchTower and U2 Experience from those works, it is claimed.

The action was admitted to the Commercial Court yesterday by Mr Justice Peter Kelly, who put the matter in for mention on October 19.

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