U2 stars revive €150m Clarence makeover plans
BONO and The Edge have revived their plans to carry out a €150m revamp of Dublin's upmarket Clarence Hotel.
The highly ambitious project was shelved in 2009 as a result of the recession, but it is now back on the table.
It has emerged that the U2 pair, along with developer Paddy McKillen, have sought fresh planning permission.
Documents filed this month with Dublin City Council requests an "extension of duration of planning permission" to build a "new and enlarged Clarence Hotel" by July 2018.
The €150m overhaul would see the Temple Bar hotel significantly enlarged and includes an elliptical, flying saucer-like roof known as a "skycatcher".
The project, which is designed by renowned British architect Norman Foster, will also include a rooftop bar, a restaurant, lounge and 141 guest bedrooms.
The scale of the work will be extensive as the redevelopment involves gutting a series of protected buildings, including the Clarence itself, leaving just the facades.
Speaking during an oral hearing on the proposals in 2008, David Evans, or the Edge, said the group were determined to maintain the property as a hotel.
"If it (the revamp) goes ahead, it will be the ninth different version of a hotel on that site. We want to keep the infrastructure in the city – we don't want it to turn into apartments. We don't want it to be lost," he said.
However, the project is still facing opposition from locals and conservational groups.
The Irish Georgian Society (IGS), which lodged an objection to the project in 2007, said it feared the plans would damage the integrity of the city quay.
"At the time we had two concerns. The Clarence Hotel is recognised in the Register of Protected Structures, and for its architectural interest. The scale of demolition proposed could have compromised the integrity and character of the building.
The second reason was that the structure would have a big impact on the character of the quays.
Those concerns remain true today," the IGS's Donough Cahill told a Sunday newspaper.
"The Clarence as a whole is of architectural interest, and to demolish the greater part of it apart from the facade is losing sight of why the building is of importance," he added.
The Clarence is a known spot for celebrities when they travel here. Rihanna delighted fans in 2010 when she stopped for photos outside the hotel where she also was staying.
Although accounts for the hotel show that it has significant losses, its profits increased ten-fold to €113,787 last year.