THE city centre is to get a new retail bank in the shape of KBC, which is to open offices in the heart of O’Connell Street.
Some 25 jobs are to be created, as the Belgian bank seeks to increase its footprint in Ireland, by opening a “retail and financial services office” at 103/104 O’Connell Street, between the Brazen Head bar and Roberts pharmacy.
A spokesman for the bank has confirmed the move, and it is understood around 25 jobs are to be created at the retail bank if it gets permission – as expected – from city planners.
Meanwhile, Limerick is set for a further jobs boost next week, with a further 50 service industry jobs in the greater city area.
The Limerick Leader has learnt that IDA bosses are due here early next week to announce the positions at a new start-up company, which will locate in the suburbs.
Headed by former Na Piarsaigh and county hurler Damien Quigley, the local branch of KBC Ireland currently employs five people at offices in Riverpoint.
But should it get permission from City Council, it could move into the heart of O’Connell Street by September.
The unit it is looking to move into has been lying vacant for a number of years since being constructed by Adare developer Robert Butler.
The expansion comes as the Belgian lender injects €125m into the Irish business.
Mayor Gerry McLoughlin welcomed the new bank, saying: “Not only are there extra jobs being created in banking in the city centre with this, but also there will be increased footfall and visitors to the city centre, coming into KBC as a result. If planning is granted for the change of use, it will also bring commercial life and activity to a building which has not been in use for some time. I very much welcome KBC and wish them every success in Limerick.”
Paul Foley, of Limerick City and County Council’s economic unit added: “I’d like to pay tribute to KBC for this statement of confidence in Limerick. I wish them every success. We have to await the outcome of the planning process before the development can commence.”
City south Labour councillor Joe Leddin says KBC’s move shows the urban area remains at the forefront.
“Make no mistake about it: the focus is now very much on the city centre in terms of developments in a retail commercial point of view. It is a real vote of confidence from KBC, and their presence should be welcomed,” Cllr Leddin told the Limerick Leader.
Brussels-based KBC Bank employs 700 people at offices in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.
A spokesman for the lender would only confirm it had sought planning permission, and a decision is due within seven weeks.