THE legal deeds of the Opera Centre site will be transferred to Limerick City Council in the coming weeks, and construction on the site could begin within six months, the city manager Tom Mackey has said.
Mr Mackey said the council will be “guided by the need to get people, employment, and vibrancy back in the city centre”, whilst engaging with the public on the consultation plans.
Labour deputy Jan O’Sullivan said the local ownership of this site will provide “the catalyst to make Limerick city centre vibrant again”.
It was announced on Friday last that funds to purchase the site had become available through the Department of the Environment’s regeneration budget.
Labour councillor Joe Leddin said the site has been “a considerable eyesore in the heart of the city for many years”, and believes City Hall should now engage with the University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology with a view to strengthening links between all organisations, and especially cementing their presence in the city. Fine Gael deputy Kieran O’Donnell said the latest twist in the Opera Centre saga “gives certainty on the strategic development of the city centre.”
The Mayor of Limerick, Fine Gael councillor Jim Long, said after passing this hurdle they now to face the “chronic problem of redeveloping the city.” It is expected a plan will be drawn up by consultants in three months. But it could take several years to build and up to €90 of investment to build.