ONE of Limerickâ€™s most historic buildings is being refurbished, in the hope that it could become a â€œflagship officeâ€ for a new city investor.
Bannatyne Mill, on the Dock Road, which for decades housed the Ranks Flour factory, is undergoing a major refurbishment to make it ready for future development.
The works include a new roof, and some internal works, as well as a new paint of coat on the outer brick work.
Workmen have moved onto the site, after the Foynes Port Company secured permission for the renovations last summer.
It is the first time activity has taken place there in more than 20 years, with a gift shop in place for a short time at the building.
Half of the complex - built in the 1870s - was demolished after Ranks closed in 1983.
Pat Keating, CEO of the Shannon Foynes Port Company, said: â€œThe Bannatyne Mills is an outstanding listed building, and we see significant potential for its future development. It has multiple developmental uses, including for potential commercial, civic or educational and research purposes. It also has the potential as an outstanding flagship office for a foreign direct investment company.â€
Southside Labour councillor Joe Leddin, who is based near the building, is delighted with the plan to upgrade the iconic structure.
He compared it to the work that Enterprise Ireland and the IDA has done in the past, making buildings available for factories.
â€œIn the case of Bannatyne Mills, once the building is functional, and brought up to a top class standard, there are a couple of different uses it would be suitable for. The very fact it will be brought up to such a standard that an investor would want to go into it is hugely positive,â€ he told the Limerick Leader.
At this weekâ€™s council meeting, Cllr Tom Shortt also welcomed the activity going on at the site. Plans are in the pipeline for a transformation of Limerickâ€™s Docklands.
It is hoped that the Docks will remain as a working port, with the site owners, the Shannon Foynes Port Company, intending to expand dock-related activity, which it described as â€œunder utilised.â€