Giant leap forward for Limerick redevelopment as EIB confirms investment

17 Nov 2017

Limerick city. Image: mikroman6/Shutterstock

Limerick City and County Council will transform the city with funding from the EIB.

Yesterday (16 November), the European Investment Bank (EIB) confirmed a record commitment for an urban Ireland investment programme in Limerick city.

The bank is committing to lending €85m to regenerate the 1.62-hectare Opera Site in Limerick city centre into a major urban hub with commercial, office and jobs potential.

This investment is the first EIB finance to be made available to an Irish local authority since 1993, and the contract for the 25-year loan was signed at the council’s corporate headquarters in Limerick by EIB vice-president Andrew McDowell, and chief executive of Limerick City and County Council, Conn Murray.

An ambitious investment for the future of Limerick

McDowell said: “The European Investment Bank is pleased to support this impressive and ambitious investment that will transform the city of Limerick over the coming years. This will create thousands of new jobs, renovate vacant buildings to provide much-needed office space and regenerate historic buildings in Ireland’s third city, as well as reducing energy bills for public buildings.

“As the bank of the European Union, the EIB has a unique track record supporting sustainable urban development across Europe, and improving the quality of life and economic opportunities in cities around the world.”

McDowell added that record support for urban development in Ireland sees the EIB expecting more cooperation with Irish local authorities in the coming months.

The undertaking will be the largest single project in the Limerick 2030 programme, which was launched last year to deliver key infrastructure across strategic sites in the county. The programme is already progressing at pace, with the 80,000 sq ft LEED Gold certified Gardens International Office accommodation project in the heart of the city set for completion late next year.

The Opera Site was acquired by Limerick local authorities in 2011 after a planned private redevelopment initiative failed to get off the ground.

EIB commitment will ensure progress is sustained

Stephen Keary, Mayor of Limerick, said: “Limerick has come a huge distance over the past five years or so, but this funding is going to make sure we can continue this remarkable journey, which has seen the city become Ireland’s greatest urban success story of the decade.”

Limerick 2030 chair Denis Brosnan said: “The EIB commitment will ensure that the rapid progress already achieved by Limerick 2030, just 14 months into its existence, is merely the start.

“This is a long-term project that is going to transform Limerick into one of Europe’s fastest-growing cities, and one capable of competing for inward investment on an international scale.”

Limerick 2030 also plans to develop an eight-acre site at Cleeves and the Mungret College residential site, among other projects.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects