Forget Dublin’s Silicon Docks, Limerick’s Opera Site is being pitched as a vibrant hub for future digital and fintech businesses.
Once a monument to the failure of the Celtic Tiger, the derelict Opera Site is to be redeveloped as the largest city centre project ever undertaken in Limerick.
It aims to attract cutting-edge digital investments and job creation projects, hoping to breathe life into one of Ireland’s ancient cities.
‘The Opera Site will accelerate the unrelenting transformation of Limerick into an attractive and competitive international city’
– DENIS BROSNAN
Limerick is already home to considerable number of international tech companies, including Three, Analog Devices, Virgin Media, Kemp Technologies, Dell and Uber as well as financial services giants such as Northern Trust.
In a turnaround for Limerick city, the new Opera Site could be a lure for the next wave of digital companies in the same way that the Silicon Docks district of Dublin has attracted the likes of Accenture, Google and Facebook.
“The Opera Site, given the failure to deliver on the exciting plans announced for it early in the last decade, became one of the biggest symbols in Limerick of the crash,” said David Conway, CEO of Limerick Twenty Thirty.
“The redevelopment of it, which is now finally going to planning, will be a symbol for Limerick recovery. It will be a pivotal moment for the city and will not just be a huge economic boost to Limerick, but will deliver a massive injection of confidence in the city centre,” he added.
€500m infrastructure goal for Limerick
Under the Limerick Twenty Thirty programme, about €500m worth of investment infrastructure is envisaged across four strategic sites in Limerick city.
A Part 8 planning process will begin tomorrow (30 June) to develop the Opera Site into a dynamic economic hub and living space.
The four-acre site was acquired by Limerick City and County Council in 2011, after a planned redevelopment under private ownership failed to materialise in the last decade.
This is the second major infrastructural project that Limerick Twenty Thirty has brought to the market, with the Gardens International Office project underway since April this year, providing 80,000 sq ft of LEED Gold Office accommodation.
The plans will be sensitive to the rich Georgian architecture across the 550,000 sq ft of property. They aim to deliver a world-class, modern, office-based campus in the heart of the city, supplemented by ancillary retail, cultural and licensed premises uses.
“The patience of Limerick and its people has been tested in relation to this particular project but they are about to be rewarded,” said Limerick Twenty Thirty chair Denis Brosnan.
“The Opera Site will accelerate the unrelenting transformation of Limerick into an attractive and competitive international city.”
A public consultation process will commence on 30 July and run until 25 August, with the planning notice on display until 11 August. It is hoped that work will commence in 2018, to be completed in five to six years.