Mayor Stephen Keary and Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council Conn Murray have confirmed that a further €85million has been secured in loan funding for the Opera Site in Limerick, bringing to €170m the total amount announced for the transformational project in the past week.
Following the announcement this day week that the European Investment Bank is committing €85million in lending to Limerick City and County Council to be spent on the Opera Site, the local authority has now confirmed that the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has also approved an equal amount.
This paves the way for the long awaited development of the vast city-centre site to go ahead, subject to planning permission. The 1.62 hectare (3.9 acres) Opera Site was acquired by Limerick City and County Council in 2011, after a planned redevelopment under private ownership stalled in 2008.
The planned development will deliver a mix of world-class, LEED Gold (international, sustainable building standard sought FDI) office-based employment campus in the heart of Limerick city.
The Opera site campus will meet the growing demand for high-quality office accommodation in Limerick, with a sister-site, the 80,000 sq. ft LEED Gold ‘Gardens International' office accommodation project on Henry Street, set for completion next year and capable of accommodating 750 jobs.
Said Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Stephen Keary: “What’s happened in the past week with this double announcement is a watermark for the city. It signals just where Limerick has arrived at. It’s a city very much on the up, to the extent that it’s a city that has key European lending institutions backing it with record funding for a single urban project in Ireland. It is another loud message that will resonate across Europe about this city on the western half of Ireland that’s ripe for investment.”
Commenting on the project approved, CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “This loan reaffirms the excellent cooperation between the CEB and Ireland. I am pleased that the Bank will be contributing to the investment programme ‘Limerick 2030’ by supporting Limerick’s urban regeneration, which is expected to have significant benefits for the local population and the wider community. Improving living conditions is an integral part of the Bank’s firm focus on promoting sustainable development in CEB member countries.”
The overall project will cost €200 million but, according to Limerick City and County Council Conn Murray, the funding pledged over the past week now guarantees the project. “This is a very significant double vote of confidence in what we are doing in Limerick. To have these two European institutions announce this level of funding in the space of one week speaks volumes about how far we have come in recent times. What really struck us this past week in terms of what we have achieved is the comment from the EIB when they said that what is happening in Limerick is going to be held up as the blueprint for European cities to move forward.”
Said Limerick Twenty Thirty CEO David Conway: “This is a critical piece in the jigsaw for the development of Limerick. We now effectively have the funding for the Opera Site, which is going to transform Limerick City. Our objective is to plan and develop key strategic sites in Limerick City and County that will stimulate enterprise and investment across Limerick and this is a huge step on that direction. We will build out the Opera Site in a phased programme over a six year period and great things will happen for Limerick as a result of this.”