Friday 23 August 2019

Limerick secures EU funds for multi-million euro office project

An artist’s impression of the city’s ‘Opera Centre’ development
An artist’s impression of the city’s ‘Opera Centre’ development

David Raleigh

European backers will invest €170m in a plan by Limerick City and County Council to develop a major office scheme in the city centre.

The "Opera Centre" development, which aims to create 3,000 jobs, is planned for a four-acre site, though the project remains subject to planning approval and has caused some controversy due to the failure to add new housing.

Yesterday, European Investment Bank (EIB) vice president Andrew McDowell signed an €85m loan contract for the scheme, and the separate Council of Europe Bank is to provide a matching loan.

Office space in Limerick is in demand. Since 2013, 12,000 IDA-backed jobs have been announced in and around the city.

Afterwards, former Minister for Finance and long time Limerick TD, Michael Noonan, who attended the EIB contract signing, said he'd help secure the package. Mr Noonan said the council had secured a very low interest rate.

"It's a 25-year loan at 1.2pc. It's about as cheap as it gets, and that's great for Limerick," he said.

Limerick City and County Council's subsidiary development company, Limerick Twenty Thirty - which is behind the Opera Centre project - is also spearheading development of a number of key strategic city centre sites. It has attracted major interest from of a number of foreign direct investment firms.

The company, chaired by former Kerry Group boss Denis Brosnan, is also developing an eight-acre site at the former Cleeves Toffee factory, and has also sought planning for 850 homes on a 200-acre site outside Limerick City in Mungret, located close to the N20.

Denis Brosnan said his only concern was the speed at which the projects would be delivered, indicating that jobs and investment could be lost to Dublin and Cork if projects don't come on stream.

Irish Independent

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