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U2 to fight purchase order on recording studio

Posted on Friday, August 17 @ 03:01:47 CEST by macphisto

(Irish Times) -- By Eithne Donnellan

A compulsory purchase order has been placed on the main recording studio used by the rock band U2 in Dublin.

The Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) wants to demolish the studio and a number of other buildings at Hanover Quay to create a public amenity at the quayside.

U2's manager, Mr Paul McGuinness, has reacted angrily to the proposal. He said the studio, referred to by the band as HQ, was its workplace, and where three albums, including their most recent, All That You Can't Leave Behind, were recorded.

"We moved into this area before it was fashionable or profitable, 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," he said.

"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," he added.

Both Mr McGuinness and the four members of the band who own the studio, and businessman Mr Harry Crosbie, who owns two adjoining studio warehouses, have indicated they will lodge objections to the plans with An Bord Pleanála.

A spokesman for the DDDA said the CPO had been submitted to An Bord Pleanála this week, and anyone with objections had 21 days, or until September 7th, to make submissions.

The spokesman described the buildings in question as a number of "old sheds" on the north side of the Grand Canal Dock. "Part of our master plan is to open up the dock edge so people can enjoy the water side," he said.

He confirmed that a warehouse nearby, converted into a house by Mr Crosbie, was a listed building and would not be affected.

"We contacted owners and tried to get them to sell their properties. Some people were not interested so compulsory purchase orders were the best way forward," he added.

Mr McGuinness said it was outrageous of the DDDA to describe the studio as a shed when it had not viewed the interior of the building.

"This is a fully equipped state-of-the-art recording studio and also a rather interesting modern building. It does not look much from the outside but the interior was designed by the architect Felim Dunne," he said.

"As far as I recall, we bought it in 1992-93 and rebuilt it and have been using it as U2's workplace and recording studio since. We sometimes use Windmill Lane if we need more capacity, but the primary recording place for all U2's work since 1994 has been this studio," he added.

Mr Crosbie said he would fight the CPO to the bitter end. "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. To remove their studios and put in more of that cursed red brick along the quays is outlandishly stupid," he said.

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