€250m complex to transform city centre

A VAST new shopping complex will draw an additional 100,000 people into Limerick city each week, members of Limerick City Council have been told by the developers.

The €250 million Opera Centre complex will cover more than 300,000 sq ft and employ about 1,000 when it opens in three years.

It will cover a vast area along Rutland Street, Ellen Street, and Michael Street where options have been taken on existing properties.

The man behind what will be the country’s biggest city centre shopping area, Suneil Sharma, said the development will be robust and good for Limerick.

The plan embraces the house in Patrick Street which is the birthplace of renowned 18th century opera singer Catherine Hayes, and this building will be restored at a cost of €2.5m.

Pat Kearney of Rooney Auctioneers said he had spent the past three years acquiring or taking options on a vast tract of properties.

He said: “This will be fantastic for the city and it will give Limerick a new national shopping focus.”

The shopping areas on different levels will cover more than eight acres of floor space.

The developers met with Limerick City Council yesterday to set out up to date information on the vast plan.

Mr Sharma said they had met a number of objectors a number of times in recent moths.

He did not think additional information being sought by Limerick City Council would cause any serious delay to the development.

Details of two anchor stores are expected to be announced later this year following the completion of ongoing negotiations.

Limerick City Council senior planner Dick Tobin said once they receive the additional information they have requested from the developers, there is a mandate on them to make a planning decision within four weeks.

He said: “At the moment we cannot say how long it will take pending the receipt of this information.”

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