LDA, Limerick City and County Council, HSE and CIÉ sign Memorandum of Understanding for major Limerick city centre development masterplan

  • Colbert Station Area - Memorandum of Understanding

The Land Development Agency (LDA), Limerick City and County Council (LCCC), the HSE and CIÉ have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the creation and implementation of a master-plan for a brownfield mixed-use site in excess of 50 hectares at the Colbert Station area of Limerick City.

Project ultimately aims to:

  • Regenerate 50-hectare brownfield mixed-use site near Colbert Train and bus station and a HSE facility and accompanying lands with living, working and leisure spaces
  • Design review led by former RIAI president David Browne will start within weeks
  • LDA providing funding for preparatory work
  • Plans for significant public consultation and engagement

The Memorandum of Understanding outlines the key steps and actions of the signatories for the creation of a new urban neighbourhood in the heart of Limerick City and a comprehensive implementation and delivery strategy.

The site of c.50 hectares consists of land owned by State bodies including LCCC, the HSE and CIÉ. The project will be transformative for Limerick City Centre and, through cooperation of key stakeholders, has the potential to deliver very significant living, office and leisure space adjacent to Limerick’s main transport hub and a HSE facility and accompanying lands.

The design review process, a precursor to a statutory master-plan, is the first step in the development at Colbert Station. The process will evaluate the potential for the site to deliver on desired outcomes and provide a high-level vision of what the development could comprise. The design review process is expected to begin in the coming weeks and will be led by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) adhering to best practice international standards to ensure optimum master-planning of the site.

The design review consists of establishing a panel of experienced practitioners of architecture, urban planning and development. The goal of the panel is to utilise specialist knowledge regarding the development at Colbert Station and use their analysis of the site as the bedrock for future master-planning and development.

The signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding are delighted to announce that David Browne, former President of the RIAI and director at one of Ireland’s leading firm of architects (RKD), has been appointed chair of the design panel. David will be working with the LDA to establish the panel in the coming weeks.

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Michael Sheahan, said: “This is a very important first step in the development at Colbert Station. Limerick is one of the most affordable places to live in Ireland and the significant investment put forward by the LDA to fund the design review and master-planning process will ensure that it remains so.

"The development represents a unique opportunity to re-develop lands for a more appropriate use by delivering living and work opportunities in the City Centre.”

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD, welcomed the advancement of the initial announcement made in October 2019 and reiterated the Government’s commitment to developing regional cities to grow their population in line with Project Ireland 2040. 

“In this project we can see the value that the State’s new development arm, the LDA, can have in bringing both vision and affordability to the heart of plans for Limerick’s future. The design review and establishment of a panel of industry experts is a key step in the development of the site at Colbert Station in Limerick. The review will act as a launching pad for a future statutory master-planning process at the site and has the potential to deliver a significant number of homes in the heart of Limerick City.

"A key part of the work of the LDA is the delivery of social and affordable housing and with the size and location of the site as well as the cooperation of local and national stakeholders the development has the potential to significantly deliver on LDA goals by utilising the area not just for homes but also community spaces. The development will be a significant step in Limerick growing in line with the population projections set down by Project Ireland 2040”.

Chairman of the LDA, John Moran, said: “The initiative at Colbert Station represents a significant step forward for us in delivering on our nationwide remit to help harness the growth potential of cities throughout Ireland.

"I am thrilled to see such ambition coming from our own team, the other stakeholders and signatories to embark on a project of this scale. Its city centre location at Limerick’s main regional and intercity transport hub will show the value of and deliver a very desirable “transit oriented development”. That form of development will be the key for the future to fostering cohesion and sustainable living in this new local community. Healthy living without car dependency can now become a reality for thousands of new residents in Limerick.

"I have worked in the past with David to examine the potential of Limerick to grow to 300,000 and can think of no one better suited to take on the challenge we have asked him to undertake today. I am delighted and want to thank him for agreeing to take on this project for us and for Limerick.” 

Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council, Dr Pat Daly, spoke about the potential scale of the development and its transformative influence on Limerick City. He said: “The advancement of a 50 hectare site in Limerick City in conjunction with the LDA, HSE and CIÉ represents a hugely transformative development for the City Centre. Continuing our strong economic growth over the last number of years and building on existing work undertaken by Limerick Twenty Thirty will ensure that Limerick remains one of the most viable locations for living and working and reiterate Limerick’s position as the economic powerhouse of the Mid-West.

"The plan could see the development of homes, leisure and office space in the centre of the city with direct transport links to other Irish cities within walking distance of the new development. Recruiting best in class international experts will, in conjunction with the capabilities of existing stakeholders, ensure that this project truly delivers a 21st century urban community.”

John Coleman, CEO of the LDA, said: “The area at Colbert Station provides the scale required to deliver transformative redevelopment projects which are at the core of the LDA’s mandate. The LDA is an agency with a national remit and the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding represents a significant step forward for the LDA’s footprint in cities outside Dublin.

"The collaboration provided by stakeholders to date bodes well for the advancement of a sustainable, compact and affordable development for Limerick City centred around the existing rail and bus hub. We look forward to advancing the initiative and engaging with the public throughout the process.”

Lorcan O’Connor, Group Chief Executive, CIÉ welcomed today’s announcement and added: “CIÉ has a unique role to support not only sustainable transport but also sustainable development. With hubs in cities and towns across Ireland, CIÉ lands can play a key role in the provision of housing, employment, public services and leisure space in close proximity to frequent, high-quality transport services – the very ethos of transport-orientated development. The partnership at Limerick’s Colbert Station with the LDA, LCCC and HSE exemplifies the approach we wish to take across our network.”

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