JP McManus funds clean up of city ‘eyesore’

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

MILLIONAIRE businessman and philanthropist JP McManus has donated thousands of euro to clean up the stalled €300m Opera Centre retail site.

MILLIONAIRE businessman and philanthropist JP McManus has donated thousands of euro to clean up the stalled €300m Opera Centre retail site.

An unspecified figure has been made available from the JP McManus Charitable Foundation to clean the vacant six acre site, which has seen over 40 businesses boarded up and lie vacant for numerous years.

Gerry Boland, director of the charitable foundation, explained that a decision was taken by the board, following consultation with the developers behind the site, to clean windows on the ground and first floors and paint the boardings.

“This action arose as a result of a desire to help clean up the city through the Community Challenge programme at present. We had been discussing our programme of works for 2011/12 at our meeting in Martinstown and many of the members referred to current state of the Opera Centre. We took the initiative and walked the street, and went out to tender for the works,” said Mr Boland.

The full cost of the works is “confidential”, he said, but it is expected to run to several thousand euro.

“We plan to tidy it up and make it look as well as it can, even though it’s not a permanent solution. We just want to make Limerick look well,” he added. Last month, it emerged that the massive site which was due to revitalise the city centre is now worth just €12.5m.

Three years ago the site of the planned shopping complex on Patrick Street and its environs was valued at €92.2m. But that value has now been written down to €12.5m.