By Shelley Marsden
THE proposed sale of Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre by NAMA-appointed receivers has been described as ‘barbarous’ by Harry Crosbie, who developed the 2, 111-seater venue.
Mr Crosby said that Ireland’s artistic community should come together to block the sale, which he called an uncivilised and barbarous act. The theatre, which Nama took control of in April last year, cost €80 million to develop but has been put on sale at €20 million.
Designed by Daniel Libeskind, Mr Crosby said the venue was an attempt to create something beautiful, that it had already become an integral part of the city’s social and cultural fabric and that it would be wrong to treat it like a “warehouse outside Mullingar.
The BGE Theatre, formerly the Grand Canal Theatre, opened its doors in March 2010 and, according to Mr Crosbie, has been making a profit ever since.
CBRE, agents for the sale, called the theatre a “trophy asset” and said it had revenues of over €8 million last year. Mr Crosbie says the theatre as a stand-alone project has borrowings of just €13.8 million from Allied Irish Banks and claims its revenues can repay these.
Mr Crosby has said that if he stays on as owner of the theatre, he will accept new conditions to strengthen links to the Irish arts community and allow the Minister for the Arts to be represented on its board.