Leicester Square shows off revamp by SIAC
An Irish company is rolling out the red carpet after overhauling one of London's most famous squares.
SIAC -- formerly known as Southern Ireland Asphalt Company -- completely renovated Leicester Square, centre of the city's theatre industry and home to many major film premieres.
John Geoghegan, director of the company set up in Cork in 1913, said the team was delighted to complete the project more than a year after it started work.
"This was a complex, difficult contract with unique challenges but I am delighted to say it was finished on time," he said.
"Almost half-a-million people walk through the square on a daily basis so you can imagine some of the issues involving moving machinery and equipment."
SIAC management based themselves in London for the duration of the undertaking, carried out for Westminster City Council.
Works included new white granite ribbon seating, grey-and-black granite pavings, landscaped gardens, architecturally-designed lighting and feature dancing fountains, stainless steel railings and gates along with hi-tech communications and traffic management systems.
"It's not until you are actually working in Leicester Square you realise what a busy place it is," said Mr Geoghegan.
"There are tourists here every single minute of the day -- even in the middle of the night."
The company, which has offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast, had to work with more than 100 businesses in Leicester Square, including the well-known Empire and Odeon cinemas during the project.
Kate Stafford, communications officer for SIAC, said it was certainly a challenge.
"There were 22 major film premieres during our time on the site and it was fascinating to see some of the world's biggest stars," she said.