Michael Smith, former chair of Irish development watchdog group An Taisce, has strong words for U2's Bono, who is often cited as one of the most progressive, humanitarian and green celebrities in the world.
Smith opposes Bono's plan to renovate Dublin's 177-year-old Clarence Hotel. "The Clarence demolition is an old-fashioned, money-driven, anti-environmental exploit," Smith, told the Los Angeles Times. "Bono is behaving like just another private-jet-addicted property speculator feeding on Ireland's greedy zeitgeist."
Bono's proposed $220-million project would triple the hotel's size and top it with a panoramic glass bar. The rocker had purchased the 49-room hotel in 1993 with U2 guitarist David Evans, better known as the Edge. The renovation reportedly involves tearing down four adjacent Georgian buildings, gutting the hotel and expanding it to 140 rooms.
The plans were done by London-based architect Lord Norman foster, who is well known as a pioneer in green building, having designed the Hearst Tower in New York City and the Swiss Reinsurance Company's home in the British capital. Foster's plans for the Clarence include preserving the exteriors and salvaging the original fireplaces, windows and doors.
But such nods to green building don't go far enough, say critics, especially considering the scale of the project and the fact that other historic structures will be raized.
Boosters claim Bono's hotel plan will be good for Dublin, and will stimulate the local economy. The city has approved the project, despite some rising opposition.
Across town, the rockers are also backing a new 394-foot building dubbed the U2 Tower, to be completed in 2011.
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