Boost for Limerick as vacant properties sold for €5m

Nick Rabbitts and Da

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts and Da

Changing hands: Sales have been agreed on units at Bedford Row (above); the former Irwin's Jewellers, Patrick Street; Jury's Inn (below) and the Bank Bar O'Connell Street
THREE city centre properties which have lain idle for the last few years have been sold this week in deals totalling almost €2m.

THREE city centre properties which have lain idle for the last few years have been sold this week in deals totalling almost €2m.

And it looks as if the former HMV unit at Cruises Street/O’Connell Street could get a new tenant early in 2014 with a number of well-known retail chains expressing an interest.

Elsewhere, the landmark Jury’s Inn Hotel on Lower Mallow Street has been snapped up as a going concern for close on its €3m asking price.

Four units on the Bedford Row/Henry Street junction have fetched more than €1.1m at auction by a developer keen to convert the former Bitter End pub into two retail units.

The hairdresser, and coffee shop in the same complex are unaffected, and will continue trading as normal, while tenants of the apartments above are also unaffected.

The former Bank Bar in O’Connell Street - which closed in 2010 - has been sold for an undisclosed fee to an investor, while the former Irwin Brothers jewellers unit in Patrick Street has also been sold for close on €300,000 to a Dublin developer.

In another boost for the city centre, the Limerick Leader understands that a number of well-known retail chains are in discussions with property agents Downings with a view to establishing a store at the former HMV premises on Cruise’s Street as early as February next.

The two-story building has been vacant since January when it was closed after the music retailer entered receivership.

The eight-storey, 151 room Jury’s Inn Hotel has been purchased by an overseas investor.

They will continue to run the hotel - which opened in 1997- and all existing staff will transfer under the same terms and conditions.

But a rebrand will likely come at a later stage, John Hughes of real estate firm CBRE Group said.

The portfolio of properties in Bedford Row were put up for sale by PriceWaterhouse Coopers, which was placed in charge of the units when the Fordmount group went into receivership in 2009.

Gordon Kearney of Rooney’s Auctioneers said three bidders sought to take over the units, with the winning investor seeking to convert the former pub.

The future uses of Irwin Brothers - closed in 2011 - and the Bank are unclear, with solicitors taking the properties ‘in trust’ for third parties.

When contacted, they remained tight lipped this Wednesday.

But it looks likely the units will be back in use in 2014, giving a major boost to the city.

On the Bank, Pat Kearney, Rooney’s Auctioneers, said: “It is an iconic building in O’Connell Street occupying a great corner. It is much loved by everyone who has ever passed it. It has top class fixtures and fittings, and these will be included in the sale.”

Gordon Kearney said the signs are looking positive for Limerick going into 2014, with high interest from Dublin investors.

“We have had a lot of queries from people outside Limerick who believe it has a roadmap for the future,” he said.