Planners in Limerick have given the green light to the city’s biggest ever retail development, which will be dedicated to the memory of the world-renowned 19th century soprano, Catherine Hayes.
Planning permission has been approved for the 300,000 sq ft ‘Opera Centre', which will be built at a cost of nearly €250m.
The development by Belfast-based Regeneration Developments will encompass an entire block of city centre Georgian streets. It also includes the birthplace of the Limerick diva, whose former home on Patrick Street will be transformed into a museum as part of the development.
The project is expected to create up to 1,000 new jobs on completion and the developers have predicted that the ‘Opera Centre’ could attract up to 100,000 customers weekly.
A number of heritage bodies including the Irish Georgian Society have already made submissions stressing the architectural significance of many of the existing buildings in the proposed development.
Objectors have a three-week time frame in which to make further submissions.
It is understood that planners decided to grant permission for the ambitious development to address the imbalance in retail floor space in the city centre.
Several out-of-town shopping complexes have been approved in recent years in the urban Limerick area while there has been little development in the city centre. The most recent was the approval by An Bord Pleanála of a €200m development at Coonagh Cross on the Ennis Road on the outskirts of the city.