Longford barracks development process begins
LONGFORD County Council has started the ball rolling on a huge redevelopment of part of the town after it appointed property agent Colliers to manage the regeneration.
The council has hired Colliers to seek expressions of interest to build on the former Connolly Barracks in the town as well as a vacant 10,000 sq m shopping centre nearby.
In a statement, Colliers said it is looking to receive expressions of interest from developers, investors, occupiers, operators, other interested parties or consortiums by April 18.
The local authority bought the barracks from the Department of Defence four years ago. The site has fallen into disrepair although the council is reported to have carried out some improvement work on the property, and had restored some of its cottages. At one point local skateboarders had been using the site, taking advantage of its large open spaces.
Colliers Dublin director of destination consultation Roger Hobkinson commented: "With the working title of Longford Northern Quarter, this part of the county town offers the potential for a truly creative and exciting development project to emerge.
"Longford County Council is determined to tackle the challenges that many rural Irish towns are facing to help the town make a step change in its economic performance.
"So on behalf of the County Council we are open to considering a number of options and development approaches that helps unlock these brown field assets and brings them back into full sustainable use to contribute to the socio-economic growth of the town, county and Midlands Region.
"Perhaps a signature project focused on the Connolly Barracks might be new "ru-urban" hotel and event venue that a great events programme reflecting its centre of the island of Ireland location, the home of outdoor recreation, a centre for Irish craft manufacturing, the home of Irish animation [and other potential uses]. UK firm Center Parcs is expected to open its first holiday resort outside the town in 2019, and Mr Hobkinson believes that will help give fresh impetus to Longford town which has been struggling to recover from the economic crash.
"It is early days but a little more positive energy is starting to emerge. We think there are many creative ideas out there, all with a real estate requirement and would like to hear them. Colliers want to help Longford make some noise and position the town for a successful future."
Colliers has been involved in a number of major developments in this country, including Cork City & Docklands, Dublin North Docklands, Naas, Limerick, and Ballincollig.