Bono, The Edge, U2

Kevin Mazur/

It'll be a beautiful stay for Bono and The Edge.

After several years of intense lobbying, U2's frontman and guitarist have gained approval from Ireland's ultraconservative planning board to redevelop the rockers' old-fashioned Dublin hotel into an ultramodern five-star destination.

According to Dublin's Herald newspaper, the duo and the famed architect they've joined forces with, Norman Foster, got permission for the controversial redesign only after promising to keep the hotel's glass-covered rooftop skybar open to the general public. Bono and The Edge had initially resisted the idea.

Once the ambitious $235 million renovation is carried out, the Clarence, as it is known, will be drastically expanded, rising to nine stories topped by a flying-saucer-shaped glass atrium.

The plans, which will expand the hotel's capacity from 44 rooms to 141, also call for the gutting of a half-dozen nearby buildings of historic vintage.

To placate heritage groups concerned about maintaining the charm of the historic district, Bono and buddies will also hire an archaeologist who will be on site at all times to ensure planners do not bulldoze the six building facades: a 1937 Art Deco edifice, four Georgian buildings dating from the 19th century and a Victorian-era property dubbed the Dollard House and built in 1886.

"We are delighted that An Bord Planala has given us the green light for Norman Foster's design for the Clarence," the rockers and their partner, developer Paddy McKillen, said in a statement. "It's great news for the team that has worked so hard on this project."

And not so good news for critics, who say the U2 members' ostentatious design will kill the historic character of the hotel's cobblestone surroundings, often referred to as Dublin's Left Bank.

Preservationists had successfully persuaded local Irish officials to dismantle a previous Foster design, forcing him to draw up a more modest, though still luxurious proposal.

On An Bord Pleanala's Website, planning inspector Kevin Moore wrote in a report that the new version would be "seriously injurious to the visual amenities of the area," would conflict with the policies of the current Dublin City Development Plan, and would, thereby, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area."

No word yet when the gutting will get under way.

This isn't the only architectural project the band has in the pipeline.

Not far from the Clarence on the waterfront, Bono, The Edge and Foster are also planning the 400-foot U2 Tower, which will be completed by 2012 and will be the tallest structure in Ireland. It will also be topped with a penthouse sporting U2's new recording studio.

Speaking of which, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are said to be hard at work on their 12th studio album, which could drop by the end of the year.

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