The Liberties Dublin posted the news on its Facebook page this morning that the beloved Tivoli Theatre, home to District 8 on the weekends, may face demolition. Located on 135-138 Francis Street, the historic theatre faces danger by an application for planning permission made by the Hodson Bay Group to redevelop the location theatre and adjoining carpark and to build an “aparthotel” in its place.
Under the proposed development the Hodson Bay Group would build a “298-bedroom aparthotel in a new 5-6 storey building set around a courtyard. The theatre will be demolished.”
A previous application was rejected by An Bord Pleanála in October (Reference 4337/16) but was rejected. The revised proposal for planning permission has been scaled back in size, which would suggest initial plans were overly ambitious.
It comes as a shock that the unique 500-seat theatre built over 70 years ago in 1936 may face destruction, particularly after the previous blow that Hangar on Andrew’s Lane Theatre will shut down, also to be replaced by a hotel.
A statement from District 8 shows they remain unfazed and positive despite the uncertain fate of the Tivoli Theatre. ‘We’re happy to reveal that the plans for the redevelopment of the Tivoli site are long-term. We have shows booked right up until 2018 and, after our biggest year to date, we’ve big plans for 2017, including opening throughout the summer this year. Onwards and upwards!’
While the proposed plans may provide a boost to the construction industry and provide much needed housing (for those wondering, an “aparthotel” is “serviced apartment style complex that uses a hotel-style booking system”) it is questionable at what cost. Given that Dublin City Centre is littered with vacant lots and derelict buildings it is surely unnecessary to target buildings that would potentially dilute the musical and cultural identity of Dublin.
In 2016 both District 8 and Hangar have had a momentous role in expanding and influencing the music scene in Dublin, importing industry heavyweights from all around the world as well as showcasing home-grown artists.