Last week, a financial agreement was officially signed between Limerick City and County Council and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) for the €85 million funding of Limerick’s 1.62 hectare Opera Site.
The €200 million project, in total, will be capable of employing up to 3,000 people across a 555,000 sq ft employment campus upon completion.
The €85 million CEB funding is matched by an existing commitment by the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced eight weeks ago, bringing to €170 million the total funding secured for the project. This paves the way for the development, with a planning application to An Bord Pleanála to follow a public consultation in the spring.
Limerick City and County Council Chief Executive Conn Murray said:
“From the moment we sat down with the CEB, we knew we were in a good place. Not alone has it become a key source of funding for a project that is going to play a pivotal role in regenerating our city, it is an institution that has the same social priorities as we have. The Opera Site is going to deliver an unprecedented social dividend for Limerick, which in ten years or so will stand out as a European model for how to rebuild urban economies.”
The project will be developed by Limerick Twenty Thirty – a special purpose vehicle tasked with planning and developing key strategic sites in Limerick city and county – over a six year period to LEED Gold standards. An employment hub, it will transform into a bustling night-time destination complete with restaurants, bars and open entertainment spaces. The design will also be entirely complementary to, and protect, important Georgian architecture on the site.
The Opera Site will be the largest single project in the Limerick Twenty Thirty programme, which was launched in autumn 2016. Already progressing at pace with the development of the 80,000 sq. ft LEED Gold ‘Gardens International’’ office accommodation project on Henry Street that is set for completion in the summer, the overall programme will deliver €500m worth of transformational infrastructure across key strategic sites.
Chairman of Limerick Twenty Thirty Denis Brosnan concluded:
“This is another day that illustrates the sense of ambition that typifies the Limerick of today. Having had some 12,000 new jobs announced over the past five years, Limerick is now moving onto another level with the Opera Site. It’s no accident as it’s simply a case of a city following a clear and coherent plan, in this instance the local authority’s ‘Limerick 2030: an Economic and Spatial Plan for Limerick’. The redevelopment of the Opera Site was a key element of that plan, like many other elements that have already fallen into place. The Limerick public can look forward to a very bright future.”