City retail incentive scheme gets green light

A RETAIL incentive scheme to encourage businesses to move into vacant shops in Limerick has been given the green light by the city council.

The scheme provides financial incentives for new retail outlets opening in designated sections of the city centre.

Limerick City Council received a significant number of enquiries during the public consultation phase and has already begun receiving applications.

Grants are being offered to help fit out vacant shops in O’Connell Street, William Street, Shannon Street, Roches Street, Catherine Street, Little Catherine Street, Henry Street, Liddy Street, Honans Quay, Denmark Street, Cruises Street, Todd’s Row, Chapel Street, Bedford Row, Thomas Street, Sarsfield Street and the north-east half of Patrick Street and Rutland Street.

A spokesperson said: “Limerick City Council will ensure that any incoming retailer will respect and enhance the multi-faceted character of the city centre and encourage a diversity of uses to increase its overall attractiveness for shopping, leisure and business purposes. Favour will be given to ‘higher order’ retail outlets including fashion stores, lifestyle stores, flagship shops and niche and specialist retailers such as home furnishings, beauty products, jewellery and books.”

Mayor of Limerick, Councillor Maria Byrne said a clustering of these uses in particular at basement-, ground- and first-floor level will help to develop a vibrant retail quarter.

The grant relief to be provided under the Retail Incentive Scheme for Vacant Property is as follows:

nYear 1 — grant relief is based on certified fit-out costs subject to a maximum of 50% of the annual rates liability for the first year.

nYear 2 – grant relief is based on original certified fit-out costs (as submitted at year 1) subject to a maximum of 25% of the annual rates liability for the second year.

Ms Byrne said: “The retail incentive scheme for vacant properties will provide a positive impact on the city centre by reducing the number of vacant premises and improving the overall retail offer in the city centre. This will in turn positively enhance the overall economic vitality and viability of the city centre both for existing and new businesses.”

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