Monday 19 November 2018

NAMA plans to get U2 Tower off the ground

Docklands development may be back on drawing board

An artist's impression of the U2 Tower designed by renowned architect Norman Foster

Neil Callanan and Joe Brennan

THE National Asset Management Agency is seeking to resurrect a plan to build the U2 Tower in Dublin, five years after the project was shelved.

NAMA and US private equity firm Kennedy-Wilson have drafted proposals for the development of about five acres of land in the city's docklands, including the U2 tower site, according to a filing by Kennedy-Wilson to Dublin City Council.

The building would have 18 storeys, half as many as the original project endorsed by the band.

The move is the latest sign of tentative recovery in a property market which is emerging from the biggest slump in western Europe, led by Dublin. Annual home prices across the country climbed last month for the first time in more than five years, official figures showed this week.

In Dublin, apartment values climbed almost 10pc from a year earlier.

Kennedy-Wilson, the biggest overseas buyer of Irish real estate since the market crashed in 2008, and NAMA "have collaborated their effort and inputs in devising an acceptable and viable scheme for their combined land holdings", according to the filing.

Kennedy-Wilson controls land between State Street's Irish headquarters on the south quays and the U2 Tower site.

A spokesman for NAMA declined to comment. Peter Collins, the Dublin-based managing director of Kennedy-Wilson's European business, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

TALLEST

NAMA and Beverly Hills, California-based Kennedy-Wilson may also develop apartments and office buildings with as many as eight storeys on their land, the filing shows. The document was submitted to Dublin City Council with the "knowledge and support" of the toxic bank, Kenn-edy-Wilson said in the filing that was prepared by planners Stephen Little & Associates on its behalf.

The original U2 Tower was due to be built by developers Paddy McKillen and Ballymore Properties and would have been partly funded by members of the band. NAMA took control of the site in 2011 from the state-owned Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

The tower was to be the tallest building in the country when the plans were unveiled in 2007. It would have been a mixture of shops and apartments, while there would also be a recording studio at the top owned by Bono, left, and his bandmates.

The project had an estimated cost of €200m at the time, but the plans were shelved in October 2008. By November 2011, NAMA had taken control of the land earmarked for the tower. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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