The rebuilding of Limerick City centre advanced to a new stage yesterday with the commencement of the planning process for another huge segment of the urban renewal plan.
The latest development is a central part of the €500m Limerick 2030 programme to develop the Opera Site, which covers a large area centring on Patrick St.
This is the second major infrastructural project that Limerick 2030 plan has brought to the market, with The Gardens International project underway since April this year, providing 80,000 sq ft of office accommodation.
The 1.62 hectare Opera Site was acquired by Limerick City and County Council in 2011, after a planned redevelopment under private ownership failed to materialise in the last decade.
According to the developers, the plans are sensitive to the rich Georgian architecture across the 550,000 sq ft of property and “will deliver a world-class, modern office-based campus in the heart of the city supplemented by ancillary retail, cultural and licenced premises uses”.
The development will be the largest single city centre project ever undertaken in Limerick.
Limerick 2030 CEO David Conway said: “The Opera Site, given the failure to deliver on the exciting plans announced for it early in the last decade, became one of the biggest symbols in Limerick of the crash. The redevelopment of it, which is now finally going to planning, will be a symbol for Limerick recovery. It will be a pivotal moment for the city and will not just be a huge economic boost to Limerick but will deliver a massive injection of confidence in the city centre.”
Limerick 2030 chairman Denis Brosnan said: “When we launched Limerick 2030 last September, we said we would not delay in bringing about the transformation of the city through developing key, disused city sites, and this is evidence of that. Just two months ago we commenced work on the International Gardens project and now we have moved onto the planning process for the much awaited Opera Site.
“The patience of Limerick and its people has been tested in relation to this particular project but they are about to be rewarded. The Opera Site will accelerate the unrelenting transformation of Limerick into an attractive and competitive international city.”
A public consultation process with regard to the plans will commence on July 30 and run until August 25, with the planning notice on display until August 11th. It is hoped to commence work in 2018, with a five to six year programme to complete the project.
Located on the south side of the River Abbey at the confluence with the River Shannon, adjacent the Hunt Museum and east of Arthur’s Quay Shopping Centre, the site, which has had a number of commercial and retail proposals from private ownership since 2001, bounds Rutland St and Patrick St to the west, Ellen St to the south, Michael St to the east and Bank Place to the north.
The project will involve the demolition of several structures which are not of architectural social or historic significance, the sensitive refurbishment and modification of a number of buildings of heritage value, including the old Town Hall, a protected structure dating to 1805, and construction of a number of new commercial blocks of varying height and scale.
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