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February 29, 2008

Dublin split over the U2 Tower

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Dubliners like a good debate and a recent hot topic of discussion has been the U2 Tower, the development in the city’s docks area that has earned its nickname through the involvement of Bono and other members of the Irish rock band. Prices have been falling across most of Ireland, but in the capital developers have not lost their appetite for looking skywards. Dublin, the argument runs, is suffering from urban sprawl. Traffic is clogging up and polluting the city and surrounding suburbs. The city council says that it has been losing tax revenue as business park and retail developments have been built outside the city. So the developers’ solution is to build tall in the city centre – a decision that has caused considerable local controversy, as similar schemes have done in London. Last October Geranger, a consortium consisting of Ballymore Properties, Patrick McKillen and August Partners (representing U2 band members and management), were selected by the docklands authority as provisional preferred bidders for the U2 Tower, which will have a recording studio for the band at the top. Foster & Partners, the consortium’s architects, have proposed a 130m (430 ft) mixed-use tower on the landmark site at the meeting point of the River Liffey, the River Dodder and the Grand Canal.

The Times