Landmark property bought by prominent Dublin business people
The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in the south Dublin Docklands has been sold for a reported €28 million after being put on the market by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), the state body established in 2009 to deal with Ireland's financial and property crisis.
The landmark building designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind was sold after NAMA appointed receivers to the theatre-owning company controlled by Harry Crosbie, the charismatic Dublin developer whose name is synonymous with regenerating the once-forgotten Docklands area.
The theatre was bought by Dublin couple John and Bernie Gallagher, who sold the Jurys Doyle hotel chain for €1.16 billion in 2005, as the capital's property boom neared its zenith. Once again the Gallaghers seem to have made a smart business move, acquiring Ireland's largest theatre for a fraction of the €80 million spent on developing and launching the venue in 2010.
Formerly known as the Grand Canal Theatre, the building's name was changed to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in 2011 after Ireland’s semi-state gas supplier signed a six-year deal for the naming rights. The theatre has over 2,000 seats and has hosted in excess of 1,000 productions since it opened. Revenues have been growing year on year too, exceeding €8 million in 2013.
The state-of-the-art theatre was built as the centrepiece of Grand Canal Square in the ambitious new urban quarter whose construction came to a halt with the crash of the property bubble in 2008. However thanks to new fast-track legislation, the area could be set for further development in tandem with Dublin's steadily-growing property prices.
The nearby concert arena, known as the Point Depot from 1988 until 2007, has also changed its name recently, and is now called the 3Arena. Following its closure in 2007, the site underwent major redevelopment and was reborn in 2008 as The O2 after the telecommunication company which bought the naming rights for 10 years.
However following the 3 Ireland take-over of rival O2 Ireland earlier this summer, the venue was renamed yet again in September.
The now debt-strapped Crosbie was also behind the Point, which was to signal the start of a massive regeneration of the Docklands district. Dublin's business circles scoffed at the then little-known Crosbie when he bought an abandoned bus depot in 1988 and promised to convert it into a world-class concert venue.
Over the following two decades however the Point welcomed two million paying guests and some of the biggest musical acts in the world.