Limerick secures €85m EU loan

By Joe Leogue

The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has signed off on an €85m loan to fund the development of an employment campus in Limerick capable of hosting 3,000 people.

The €200m Opera Site project is part of the Limerick Twenty Thirty programme. It will see 555,000 sq ft of commercial, office, retail and cultural space built at the northern part of the city’s commercial area.

The CEB financing, along with a commitment by the European Investment Bank, brings to €170m announced for the project, which will “kick-start a whole new era of economic development in Limerick”, said Mayor Stephen Keary.

“This is the single most important development for Limerick, as it will raise the entire economic and social standing of the city, with significant knock-on benefits for the region also. It will revitalise city-centre trade, stimulate our property market and attract further investment,” he said.

Limerick City and County Council chief executive Conn Murray said the project will “deliver an unprecedented social dividend for Limerick, which in 10 years or so will stand out as a European model for how to rebuild urban economies”.

“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,” said Mr Murray.

The plan represents “the opportunity of a lifetime” for Limerick, said governor of the Council of Europe Bank, Dr Rolf Wenzel.

“As a development bank with an exclusively social mandate, we are eager to partner on projects that will deliver transformational benefits for cities.

"The Opera Site project ticked every box for us in that regard. Given the numbers that will work there, it will be a catalyst for economic growth across Limerick, lifting all areas of the city, particularly those with higher levels of unemployment,” said Dr Wenzel.

The project is expected to begin following public consultation in spring.

The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has signed off on an €85m loan to fund the development of an employment campus in Limerick capable of hosting 3,000 people.

 

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