Developers are anxious to get in on a likely €100m public private-partnership project to reshape Limerick city centre.
Seven companies have filed expressions of interest in the planned revelopment of the city’s Opera Centre area.
The project promoters, Limerick City and County Council, will now engage in negotiations to select a partner. Work on the site could start within 12 months.
A spokesman for the council said yesterday: “The tender process is progressing.”
The development will be centred on an area known as the Opera Centre site, which fronts onto Patrick St.
In 2003, Belfast developer, Suneil Sharma, engaged Limerick auctioneer, Pat Kearney, to acquire properties along Patrick St.
Within three years, Mr Kearney secured a bundle of 40 properties, which Mr Sharma purchased.
At the height of the Celtic Tiger, Mr Sharma’s property porfolio in the city centre was valued at €120m. He later sold to a Dublin developer.
After the crash, however, Nama secured an interest in the properties.
Limerick City and County Council bought the Opera Centre site for €12m in 2011, after getting the approval of Michael Noonan, the finance minister.
The 50,000sq m site is the centrepiece of the 2030 city centre redevelopment plan.
As well as retail outlets, the plan includes accommodation for 350 college students, who will attend a new city centre college campus shared by the University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College and Limerick Institute of Technology.
The Revenue Commissioners have agreed to move hundreds of officials into new offices, which will also be built on the site.
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