5,000 new jobs on the way

Construction has begun on a 100,000sq ft office development in Limerick city centre — kickstarting the €500m Limerick 2030 economic plan.


Artist’s impression of Hanging Gardens, Henry St
The plan unveiled four years ago sets out a strategy embracing three city-centre sites with the expectation of creating 5,000 jobs within five years. Work on the first location at Henry St, known as The Gardens International Office, which commenced yesterday, will involve an investment of €17.6m with a completion date in 2018.

The 2030 plan provides for the development of two other sites. One an area adjacent to Patrick St, known as The Opera Centre, will see the creation of a third-level campus with hundreds of students from the University of Limerick Institute of Technology and Mary Immaculate College moving into the city centre to study and live.

The Gardens office centre will have space for up to 750 workers and it will provide 150 jobs during construction. The Gardens’ project contract signed last week by JJ Rhatigan & Company builders and Limerick 2030 is the first special purpose vehicle of its kind in Ireland and was created by Limerick City and County Council to purchase and build strategic but unused key sites in the city.

Limerick 2030 chairman, Denis Brosnan, said The Gardens development will be the catalyst for a new era of growth for Limerick.

How Lower Henry St looks now.
He said: “This is the first in a wider programme that is going to transform Limerick into a dynamic living and working city capable of competing with the leading destinations in Europe for inward investment. Limerick’s time has come and timing is a key aspect of this given the capacity constraints and competitive issues that other cities who want this type of investment have.

“It’s also timely from a Brexit perspective as Limerick, with high-end projects like this, will be the best placed and most competitive English-speaking city in the EU for inward investment. We will have state-of-the-art space in a city that has been revitalised over the last three years or so but remains an extremely cost-effective location for operating international business in and from.”

Conn Murray, the chief executive of Limerick City and County Council, said Limerick has seen significant job creation and over €1.3bn invested over the last three years with the fastest growing employment rate in the country.

Mr Murray said: “The Gardens will now trigger a new wider programme of investment in infrastructure to bring that record period in Limerick to another level. Limerick is rejuvenated, it is attracting a lot of international attention and now we will be able to offer what FDI and indigenous investors mostly look for — inner city locations in a vibrant city where people can work and, indeed, live. This will be a landmark project for Limerick and in time we will look back on it as pivotal moment for the city and region.”

Artist’s impression of the Upper Henry St development
The Henry St site was part constructed during the boom but has remained a shell development since work ceased there several years ago. The five-floor development will be suitable for a range of uses.

It has been designed to a high spec, with a modern office feel dovetailing and entirely complementing the aesthetics of an architecturally significant building considered one of Limerick’s most unique.

Developed in 1808 by the Roches family, the old limestone-faced building with stunning red-bricked internal barrel vaults was a revolutionary project for its day, having been designed with a sophisticated heating and irrigation system to support roof-top hanging/vertical gardens with vegetation such as exotic fruits such as oranges, grapes and pineapples.

How Upper Henry St looks now.
Aim to ‘get fundamentals in place’ for city centre

One of the main goals of the Limerick 2030 plan is to ensure the city centre fulfils its economic potential by becoming a desirable place in which to do business.

The aim is to create a city centre setting capable of attracting new inward business investment and encourage new local enterprises by providing high-quality space and necessary business supports.

The plan states: “The city centre should be at the heart of the wider economic strategy for Limerick, developing its role as a place of creativity, culture and consumption. It is the ‘shop window’ for Limerick.

“Its role will not just be about providing the accommodation and infrastructure, but also providing the ‘quality of life’ factors so important to investors, employers and skilled workers.”

The plan notes: “Many of the ingredients and inherent attributes necessary to be successful are in place. The 2030 spatial plan seeks to take advantage of these.

At the signing of the €17.6m contract to develop the 100,000sq ft Gardens International office on Henry St, Limerick were, back row, Con Murray, CEO Limerick City and County Council; Cllr Seamus Browne; project architect Louise Cotter, Carr Cotter Naessens/ Denis Byrne Architects; Cllr Noel Gleeson; Cllr James Collins; Cllr Joe Pond; and front row, Pat Daly, director Limerick 2030; Denis Brosnan, chairman Limerick 2030; Ger Ronayne, regional director, JJ Rhatigan; James Godley, regional manager, JJ Rhatigan.
“There needs to be a range of specific projects and programmes, including new development and redevelopment projects. Further enhancements to the fabric of the city centre are also required: the renovation of the Georgian Quarter and other heritage assets; further public realm and transport improvements, and improved management and positioning. The renaissance of the City Centre requires the delivery of a series of inter-related interventions. The success of each intervention will depend upon the delivery of others.

The new limerick heavies


“The desire to strengthen the city’s shopping offer will depend upon increasing economic development, attracting private sector investment, and enhanced culture and leisure programme, improvements to the physical environment, an enhance tourism offer. Equally an improved shopping offer is a pre-requisite to the successful attraction of new business, tourism.

“As a start Limerick needs to get the fundamentals in place around business, shopping and living opportunities. It needs a better infrastructure and public realm to make it a comfortable and appealing city centre. However, to achieve its full potential it needs to embrace a series of transformational projects completed by a programme of employment interventions addressing the shopping, business and residential markets, plus a programme of improvements to the public realm and city centre infrastructure.”

Plan will build on earlier successes

The Limerick 2030 plan stresses the importance of challenging false beliefs about Limerick.

In late 2000, when the vicious gang feud descended into a new level of depravity, gardaí and political leader feared the city was on the verge of anarchy.

However, successive ministers for justice gave Garda management full support to do all that was necessary to deal with the crisis.

At that time, one -third of all shootings in the State occurred on the streets of Limerick City.

Extra armed units, good police work and the support of the people of Limerick saw a huge and successful rescue mission which led to the jailing of most of the key gang leaders and the abating of major crime.

The recovery in the image of the city was helped by a number of factors. These included the huge positive media coverage of the Munster Rugby team in the Heineken Cup and the great impression visiting rugby fans got on their visits to Thomond Park.

The ongoing enlargement of facilities at the University of Limerick, Limerick Institute ot Technology and Mary Immaculate College resulted in an inward surge of young students from all over the country abroad.

The 2030 plan stresses the need to assert the strengths and attributes the city has to offer and urges that this must be done with a sense of purpose and conviction.

While the commencement of The Gardens centre is the much-heralded and long-awaited gamechanger, business people in the city have not been found wanting in standing up to the plate in investing in the city centre.

There has been a spectacular broadening in the variety of dining-out experiences and night-time entertainment.

JP McManus has begun work on a new world rugby experience which will be located inthe heart of the city on O’Connell St.

The historic area in King’s Island, which includes King John’s Castle and St Mary’s Cathedral, will be enhanced with the moving, later this year, of the courts to a new building near Limerick prison.

Visitors getting off tourist buses in the parking area at Merchant’s Quay can often be greeted by groups who gather at the entrance to the district court in a less than welcoming formation.

Limerick on the 2030

Construction will begin on a major new development in the heart of Limerick this morning.limerick2030_logo_web_standard_-_transparent_background
The Gardens building aims to provide 750 jobs once it is completed.

The project is part of the Limerick 2030 programme driving investment and jobs in the region.

Laura Ryan from Limerick City and County Council says they hope it will help rejuvenate the mid-west.
“It’s really a catalyst for a new era of growth for Limerick as this is part of a wider programme to transform Limerick into a dynamic living and working city capable of competing with some of the best destinations in Europe,” she said.
“Limerick really is rejuvenated, it’s attracting a lot of international attention and now we’ll be able to offer what FDI [foreign direct investment] and business investors are mostly looking for.

Punch consulting added, “As the Civil & Structural Engineer PUNCH is proud to see construction begin for the Gardens International Office Development in Limerick.”

Keep up the good work Limerick!!


Cllr. Gilligan is asking if the amalgamation structures within the Limerick City and County

Council need to be reviewed. While we rarely agree with cllr. Gilligan, on this occasion he has a point. The sh-amalgamation is long overdue for an overhaul.

Our city requires clear ownership and governance in terms of how much funding we get and how the funding should be spent. Currently everyone and nobody is leading us into the future. We need people like you, people who care, to become more vociferous about our city’s future. Join us in the struggle?

University of Limerick ‘Health Hub plans’ get council approval

PLANS to build a ‘health promotion hub’ in Limerick city centre have been approved by Limerick City and County Council.old-town-hall

The Health Hub will soon be kitted-out in the Old Town Hall premises on Rutland Street, as part of University of Limerick’s recently-launched global strategy and the Limerick 2030 Economic Plan.

The centre, which will be used for “community-based health promotion”, will be delivered in association with the HSE directorate of health and wellbeing, Healthy Ireland Council and UL.

The centre will comprise a meeting room with a 60-person capacity, reception area and waiting room.

It is also part of UL’s aim to augment its “visibility” within the city centre, with plans to build transport links between the city and the Plassey campus; permanent residence for UL’s Fab Lab; and students’ residence in partnership with Shannon Consortium and the council.

In the plan, UL says that the “interprofessional, community-based health hub will enable staff from the health sciences to deliver health and wellbeing programmes to community groups”.

When UL president Prof Don Barry launched the university’s Broadening Horizons strategy, he said that the university was “anxious” to see city centre developments at the Opera Centre site happen as soon as possible.

“We are ready to go and we have begun creating some of the activities that we want to bring to the city already.

“What I want to see in the city is hundreds of UL students studying in the city, living in the city, and bringing their energy and their life, as part of the revitalisation of the city centre, which I think is a very important part of the Limerick 2030 plan.”

Plans for the project were first lodged in the middle of February, and the planning office gave it the green light, this week. The building was originally home to the Chamber of Commerce when it was built in 1815.

Limerick Foot Bridge. Yay or Nay?

The controversial Limerick Foot Bridge is back on the table it seems. Here is some background that we would like to share with you, judge for yourself.

We know already that our Limerick City and County Council performed significant research on this project in June of 2014 with the assistance of a company called AECOM. In short, it looks like there were 3 design candidates:

Option 1- ‘The Balcony on the Shannon’

The Balcony on the Shannon

Option 2- ‘The River’s Apex’

The River’s Apex

Option 3- ‘Twin Arches’ (yes, we know it has only one arch, despite the name…)

Twin Arches

The project particulars as of that date, were as follows:

Limerick 2030 identifies a new public waterfront adjacent to Arthur’s Quay Park, it proposes that a “new Riverside Park will run the length of the City Centre from Sarsfield Bridge through where Sarsfield House currently stands, along between the Hunt Museum and the River and over a new pedestrian bridge into a pedestrianised Potato Market area linking up to the upgraded King John’s Castle tourist attraction.” This proposal is reflected and incorporated in the Limerick City Development Plan 2010-2016 and forms part of a number of key projects identified for delivery in the coming years.

As part of the potential, next generation, tourism investment in Limerick, Failte Ireland proposed a major transformational project – the creation of a RIVERWAY proposal that would see the construction of new footbridges and possible future connections across and along the River Shannon to provide new ways to experience the City and to animate the visitor’s experience of both the river Shannon and Limerick city centre. All journeys could make apparent and restore the intimate relationship between the City and the River Shannon.

Limerick City & County Council wish to appoint a Project Manager/ Employers Representative and Quantity Surveyor in connection with their proposed Footbridge project. It is intended that the Service will be required throughout all project stages of this design & build contract.

The services will typically include taking the brief and engaging with the client to clarify the requirements, obtaining statutory approvals where necessary, preparation of detailed design and tender documentation, management of the tender process, administration of the works contract, cost control including agreement of final accounts, management of the handover process including the provision of handover documentation to the client and all required interaction and reporting to the client throughout the process etc. Details of the services to be provided by Consultants will be further set down in the tender documents.

Almost as interesting as the project overview and the proposed bridge designs, is the e-mail correspondence that we uncovered during our search for information. It’s a 20MB file, so may take a moment to download, if you’re interested in it’s entirety).

email correspondence

And so the story goes on. Hey, if you’re that interested, we have all the files here at Limerick 2030. Let us know if you’d like us to share them with the rest of our citizens.

Is mise le meas,