Crosbie And Latham Make Their Point

Its 40-story tower centerpiece is on hold for at least a year thanks to the economic downturn, but co-developers Harry Crosbie and Live Nation reckon the Dublin O2 will soon host up to 3 million patrons per year.

“The development is nothing to do with us. We sold the land around the building to help finance the £65 million rebuild costs for the venue,” explained Live Nation U.K. President Paul Latham.

Latham said he believes the new venue, a revamp of what was The Point, will soon be recognized as one of the best arenas in Europe.

It opened Dec. 16 with a Childline charity concert produced by MCD Promotions featuring Boyzone, Anastacia, Enrique Iglesias, Shayne Ward, Scouting For Girls, The Script, JLS and Eoghan Quinn.

“It’s going to be a world-class rock venue and the biggest people-magnet in Ireland,” Crosbie told the Irish Times.
The new arena can seat 9,500 people, or 14,000 if some retractable seats are pulled back to make way for 8,000 standing in front of the stage. There are bars and food outlets lining the cavernous semi-circular concourses.

The new venue is expected to become a landmark on the Dublin skyline – even before the tower is finished – as its translucent polycarbonate roof cladding extends two stories above the original building.

The Point was built in the shell of the old Midland Great Western railway terminal, a listed building dating back to the 19th century.

“We wanted to make the architectural expression as light as possible,” said Damon Lavelle of HOK Sport Architecture, pointing out that the lighting gives an “ethereal, diaphanous effect” that contrasts with the stone and brick of the railway depot, which was built in 1878.

The renovated and extended O2 has been turned around 90 degrees on an east-west axis, instead of north-south like the old Point.

Almost the entire west side of the Victorian building was demolished and some of the material salvaged for reuse. The tall cast-iron columns of the old train shed, for example, now provide structural supports for the concrete upper tiers of the arena.

The building has also been soundproofed to ensure noise doesn’t disturb nearby residents.

Crosbie wouldn’t disclose what O2 paid for the naming rights but says every penny went toward developing the new arena.
There is no shortage of space for the stage. It’s 54 metres wide, 18 metres deep and it’s 20 metres up to the rigging grid.

O2 chief exec Mike Adamson says LN will also stage free outdoor events in the new square at the back of the arena.

The rest of the surrounding complex, known as the Point Village, will have a shopping centre anchored by Dunnes Stores, a 285-bedroom hotel, offices and apartments.