The Dublin Docklands Development Authority has announced that Geranger Ltd - a consortium consisting of Ballymore Properties, Patrick McKillen and August Partners (U2 Band members and management) - has been selected as the provisional preferred bidder to design, construct and finance the U2 Tower and Britain Quay Building - one of the most significant projects in the regeneration of the Docklands area.
The consortium's architects, Foster + Partners, have proposed a stunning design for the 120 metre high tower and adjacent Britain Quay site uniquely situated at the confluence of three waterways - the River Liffey, River Dodder and Grand Canal.
The inspirational building will include a public viewing platform at 100 metres, a public amenity area at the base - together with hotel, retail and residential accommodation including 20% social and affordable housing. At the top of the Tower, the U2 studio is included as a suspended egg shape pod.
Paul Maloney, Chief Executive of the Docklands Authority, said that Geranger Ltd had been selected because its submission exceeded the expectations of the brief with the emergence of a breathtaking design, uniquely suited to this prominent Docklands site.
The announcement of preferred bidder status for Geranger Ltd follows a rigorous EU tendering process, where submissions from four short-listed consortia were considered. The winning tender was for the new design by Foster + Partners.
The Docklands Authority appointed three architectural consultants - Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Shih-Fu Peng of Heneghan Peng Architects and Michael O'Doherty, former principal architect at the OPW - to evaluate the architectural and design elements of the proposals.
Since the original design competition, the parameters of the development changed. The Burdon Craig Dunne Henry design concept was for a 60 metre tower on a smaller footprint - but, following the recent planning amendment for the Grand Canal Dock Planning Scheme area, the tower was increased to 120 metres in height, with an adjoining multi-storey building moving from what was considered a local landmark to a city landmark.
Developers were required to submit bids to develop the U2 Tower architectural concept, designed by Burdon Craig Dunne Henry (bcdh) - and were also offered the option of submitting a variant design for both the U2 Tower and the Britain Quay building. Two consortia opted to submit a variant design alongside a proposal for the original. In total, six schemes were assessed across criteria of architecture and design, project execution plans and financial offers.
Taking all those considerations into account, the Docklands Authority - advised by project consultants - selected the Foster design as the most appropriate.
It is estimated that the U2 Tower development will cost over €200 million to design and build. Construction is expected to start in 2008 and be completed by 2011.
Solicitors, A&L Goodbody, provided legal advice throughout the tender process.
The U2 Tower is located in the Grand Canal Dock area, where the Docklands Authority is working with some of the world's leading architects on projects such as the Studio Libeskind-designed Grand Canal Theatre, the Manuel Aires Mateus-designed five-star hotel and the recently opened Martha Schwartz-designed Grand Canal Square.