LIMERICK city’s flagship urban renewal project, Gardens International, is 50% tenanted on its official launch this week, anchored by Nordic Aviation Capital, with the remainder of its c 10,000 sq m under active negotiation.
The signal development ties in 19th historic structures, including vaults, and sections of the former renowned Roches’ Hanging Gardens, which grew exotic fruits, pineapple and peaches in rooftop terraces and greenhouses overlooking the River Shannon, with 21th century offices, to Gold LEED energy performance standards, modulating solar gain, via aluminium fins, hitting an A3 BER.
The project was taken on by Limerick Twenty Thirty, who committed to redevelop some of the city’s underperforming and abandoned sites back in 2015; work started on Gardens International in 2017, which had lain idle and half developed for decades, since the ‘crash.’
Acquired by Limerick City and County Council in ‘15, the city block, an assembly and mosaic of buildings of different centuries and purposes, was consolidated with the acquisition of the corner site No 19 Henry Street.
Further city sites are now being lined up for renewal and a planning application is expected to be lodged this week for the Opera development, predicted by Limerick City and County CEO Conn Murray “to be the single most important project for this region in decades and includes a number of iconic new buildings, not least the new Revenue building.”
The 46,000 sq metre site will, along with Gardens International “bring Limerick to a new level, enabling it to compete on an international stage like never before.”
Gardens International is the first completed build in the Limerick Twenty Thirty programme, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) special purpose vehicle created by Limerick City and County Council to acquire and develop key sites into employment and residential hubs. It aims to deliver €500m worth of investment in office, retail, residential, cultural, education and enterprise space developed in the city.
Architects for the ambitious ‘old meets new’ Gardens International project were Cork-based Carr Cotter Naessens Architects, with Denis Byrne Architects and conservation consultants Carrig Conservation International, while letting agents are John Buckley of Cushman & Wakefield in Limerick, with C&W in Dublin, and confidence was expressed this week that further lettings are close to being agreed.
The project included elements of the old Mercantile Building, the former General Post Office which was developed there a century later and the new-build sections of sustainable workspaces, with public atrium and two green courtyards.
Entry now to the 112,000 sq ft development is via brick vaulted spaces of the Hanging Gardens structure, floor slabs have been removed to reveal the original volumes of the vaults, and the roof terrace has been reinstated with trees and shrubs, and a pergola.
Limerick Mayor James Collins billed the local authority backed investment as “a project that is a motif for a new Limerick. We’ve built the very best because we want to attract the best. It’s a build that respectfully and brilliantly merges old and new. It has raised the bar, created a remarkable new structure and standard here in the centre of Limerick.”
Former Finance Minister Michael Noonan TD said the project demonstrated Limerick Twenty Thirty “not alone had the ambition and the vision to go for this but today shows they deliver also. The first new tenant comes in here, shortly taking up over 50% of the space and I expect that the remainder will be let within the coming months, bringing new jobs and investment to Limerick.”