- 09 Jan 02
U2’s studio headquarters may face demolition by compulsory public order from the Docklands authority
The row over the forced sale and demolition of U2’s studio in Hanover Quay hots up this month, with a public hearing on the issue scheduled to begin at the Gresham Hotel on January 29th.
The studio, along with several other buildings in the Hanover Quay area, has been placed under a "compulsory purchase order" by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. This means the band and other affected occupants must sell and vacate, so that the buildings can be demolished and the DDDA’s redevelopment of the area may proceed.
U2 and manager Paul McGuinness, who bought and refurbished the property some nine years ago, have reacted very strongly against the order.
"I think it’s outrageous that the DDDA should sweep in with a compulsory purchase order at this stage without taking account of our long-standing presence in the area," McGuinness was quoted as saying last August, when the purchase order was first issued.
"We moved into this area before it was fashionable or profitable," he continued. "And U2 being there has affected the perception of the area. It’s also a great place to work, and we have no wish to move."
Businessman Harry Crosbie, owner of Vicar Street and the Point Theatre - who stands to lose several studio warehouses also affected by the purchase order - has also come forward with objections.
"I feel it’s stupid that a band of historic proportions like U2 should be treated like that given what they have done for this country," he told the Irish Times. "To remove their studios and put in more of that cursed red brick along the quays is outlandishly stupid."
The situation wasn’t helped when a DDDA spokesman described the Hanover Quay buildings – including the studio – as a collection of "old sheds".
"This is a fully equipped state-of-the-art recording studio, and also a rather interesting modern building," McGuinness countered in the Irish Times. "It does not look much from the outside but the interior was designed by the architect Felim Dunne."
The studio, which the band refer to as "HQ", is the location from which the majority of their recording has been done since 1994, including last year’s massive "All That You Can’t Leave Behind", the recipient this week of multiple Grammy nominations.
The proposed Hanover Quay redevelopment, according to a DDDA spokesman quoted by the Times, would include "opening up the dock edge so that people can enjoy the waterside". As of September, objections have been formally lodged with An Bord Pleanala, and all demolition and building work has had to stop until the conflict is resolved. January 29th’s oral hearing allows all objectors, including U2, their manager, Crosbie, local residents and others, to make their views public.