After years of planning, wrangling and rowing, it finally looks like the landmark U2 tower is finally set to get off the ground. Plans for the Liffey highrise remain on course even though a formal agreement with the developers has still not been struck.
The Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) said negotiations between it and the preferred bidders -- a consortium including U2 members -- "are due to be completed shortly."
The DDDA expects "construction of the tower to begin by the end of this year or early next year," a spokesman said.
Geranger Ltd. was chosen by the DDDA as the preferred bidder for the €200m project on Britain Quay in October, beating off competition from Sean Dunne's Mountbrook Homes.
Geranger, a consortium consisting of Ballymore Properties, developer Paddy McKillen and the members of U2, plans to build a skyscraper soaring 60m higher than the Spire.
The scheme contains a design for an egg-shaped recording studio suspended beneath a battery of vertical wind turbines and a huge solar panel at the top. This "energy centre" will raise the overall height from 130 metres to 180 metres.
The Geranger project, a tilted triangular tower designed by Foster & Partners, will include a public viewing platform offering panoramic views over the city and Dublin Bay.
This will be located just below U2's "pod" studio, which will be separated from the structure for acoustic reasons.
Norman Foster's practice is best known for the Swiss Re or "Gherkin" tower in the city of London.
DDDA director of architecture John McLaughlin said that the Foster scheme "had the edge because its public spaces were really well handled" and it provided a gateway to a bridge over the Dodder where it joins the Liffey.
In addition to the tower, which will largely comprise luxury apartments, the scheme includes a five-star hotel in a flanking building, and a block of 34 social and affordable apartments.