Re: Re: Convention centre

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SeamusOG
Participant

City to get conference centre on banks of the Liffey

IT’S been a long time coming but now a glass-fronted newcomer is set to upstage its neighbours on the Liffey and become a landmark on the Dublin skyline.

The five levels of conference rooms, exhibition and banqueting space, and the 2,000-seat auditorium of the National Conference Centre have been much heralded over the past few years.

The UCD-educated architect who created the blueprint for the building admitted he had high aims in mind.

A “legacy” building was Pritzker prize-winning Kevin Roche’s aim – one which would be as iconic as the Four Courts and the Custom House.

The €400m project had been mired in planning issues, but permission has finally been granted and diggers are already standing by on the 81-acre site.

Milestone

Arts Minister John O’Donoghue said that yesterday’s signing of the contract with the Spencer Dock International Conference Centre Consortium, involving Treasury Holdings, businessman Harry Crosbie and Irish Rail, was a “milestone” for Irish tourism.

The NCC, to be located on the banks of the Liffey at Spencer Dock, will be less than half a mile from O’Connell Street and is expected to be completed by 2010.

The centre, boasting 22 meeting rooms, will accommodate up to 8,000 delegates.

Under the public-private partnership agreement, the consortium have signed up to design, build and finance the centre and will also operate it for a quarter of a century.

During this time it is expected to reap €380m, before the building then reverts to the ownership of the State.

Tourism chiefs have already started taking bookings, with the centre expected to be opening its doors for business in 2010.

Business tourism, including conference travel, is worth €475m to the Irish economy each year, according to Failte Ireland estimates.

Economy

The NCC is expected to be a moneyspinner for the economy, with estimated earnings of up to €50m a year.

Last night tourism and business interests welcomed the awarding of the contract.

Failte Ireland chair Gillian Bowler said Ireland would now be able to compete among the best to attract lucrative events here.

“I am particularly pleased that such a striking and innovative design has been selected, which will enhance the Liffey scape for generations to come,” she said.

The Irish Hotels Federation said that the facility would help the country attract a larger share of the €40bn global conference market.

The Dublin Chamber of Commerce said that the announcement came at a critical time, given the loss of venues such as Jurys Ballsbridge, which had over 850 conference seats.

Louise Hogan

Whatever else can be said about the project, it’s not less than half a mile away from O’Connell Street.:rolleyes:

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