Work on €180m Limerick development to begin this year

An Bord Pleanála has approved the project, which includes a 14-storey building at Bank Place, featuring some 13,000 sq m of office space.

Work on €180m Limerick development to begin this year

Work on the €180 million landmark Opera Site development in Limerick city will start later this year.

An Bord Pleanála has approved the project, which includes a 14-storey building at Bank Place, featuring some 13,000 sq m of office space.

The development, which is focused on a 1.62 hectare site in the city centre, is the largest commercial development in the state, outside Dublin.

It also includes three other office buildings of six, five and four storeys, as well as a new bar and restaurant, the refurbishment of the Granary Building, an apart-hotel, apartments and a public plaza.

There are also plans to renovate the former town hall. The six-storey building will include a 4,500 sq m public library and almost 3,000 sq m of offices.

The Opera Site scheme is being developed by Limerick Twenty Thirty DAC (LTT), a special-purpose vehicle created by Limerick City and County Council in 2016 to transform a number of derelict sites in the city and county.

It is fully-funded due to commitments from the European Investment Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank. Work on the project will commence in the second half of this year, according to Limerick City and County Council.

It is estimated the site will be capable of employing some 3,000 people.

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Michael Sheahan, said the project will "literally transform our city centre into a world-class space capable of attracting major global investment".

"The ripple effect from this will be enormous. It will undoubtedly be a success in its own right and, in turn, attract huge numbers into the city, triggering other commercial and residential investment at a level that we have not seen before in the heart of Limerick," he said.

A planning application was lodged with An Bord Pleanála in March 2019.

However, due to a number of objections, the development was subject to an oral hearing.

Among the opponents to the project was the Limerick Georgian Society, which said the proposed tower is out of character with the Georgian heritage of the location, directly across from the Hunt Museum.

An Taisce also opposed the development, saying it would endanger a number of bat species whose habitat is located in one of the old Georgian buildings.

The oral hearing took place late last year. An Bord Pleanála has now opted to approve the development.

Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber, welcomed the planning approval: "Strong cities drive regional economies, and the mid-west economy needs a vibrant Limerick city to enable it to step up to the challenge."

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