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Proposed Irish Animation Studio Rejected by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
08 May 2019 : Nathan Griffin
Dun Laoghaire ferry terminal has been unoccupied since 2015.
The Dlr County Council has rejected a submitted tender from US children’s entertainment company Hasbro to establish an animation studio in the old Stena Line terminal in Dun Laoghaire harbour.

According to reports by The Irish Times, the US Company submitted a joint expression of interest for the vacant building, which remains unoccupied since its closure in 2015, in association with Irish animation company Boulder Media that was bought by Hasbro in 2016.

The tender is said to have stated that the proposed studio could house 350-400 staff immediately with the potential to rise to 650 crew and management. It also focused on the benefit to the economy stating “Local spend of our highly skilled, higher earning creative and media professionals would also be very considerable.”  While the proposed plan was pitched as “a truly unique studio and academic facility with stand-out identity and worldwide appeal. Hollywood production would truly be happening in the centre of Dún Laoghaire – with regularity”.

“Our proposed facility would be a celebration of learning, hard work, opportunity, success, and outstanding achievement,” it continues. “We believe it would become a globally recognised hub, offering unparalleled opportunities for artists, students, and media professionals.”

Under the proposal, Boulder Media would sign a 10-year lease with the potential to sub-let a smaller section to IADT, who enjoys a strong relationship with the animation studio and contributed a submission in support of the project to the Council.

However, due to the controversy surrounding the original plans for the site, which had initially been intended to be converted into a high-tech start-up hub until its investors fell out, the Council have taken a more critical approach to the subsequent tender process.

It is said that Lisney, the estate agent handling the deal, wrote to Hasbro/Boulder Media in April stating that necessary bank and funding details had not been provided and that a new grant for planning permission was needed for the proposed tender to proceed.

As a result, the Dlr County Council determined that the application was not within the scope of the expression of interest and informed the applicant that “for the moment the council will be proceeding to interview a number of parties and we will let you know if there is any change in approach in the future.”

The Dlr County Council is said to be considering the various approaches available and has since conducted interviews with other potential occupants. Once the potential candidates are narrowed, the final decision will be ratified by a Council vote.




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