ONE of the city’s most respected property agents, who worked on negotiating the sales of sites for the Opera Centre, says he has been trying to get Marks & Spencer to come to Limerick for 32 years.
Pat Kearney, of Rooney Auctioneers, said Marks & Spencer first surveyed properties in Limerick in 1979, when they initially looked at Spaights shopping centre, now Dunnes Stores, on Henry Street.
However, their property manager at the time told Mr Kearney that he thought that “Limerick was too small population wise.”
“It would have been the making of Limerick, but it didn’t happen unfortunately,” said the Kerry native.
“They have always been targeted and courted to come to Limerick with any new development that cropped up,” he said.
There has been renewed interest over the past week in whether M&S could finally open a flagship store in Limerick, just as they had hoped to do two years ago in the Crescent shopping centre.
However, the plans for expanding that centre were turned down by An Bord Pleanala.
It is understood Marks & Spencer is now been wooed by Limerick City Council to take a store in the 3.2 acre Opera Centre site, while Belfast developer Suneil Sharma is remaining tight-lipped on whether he too is in talks with the chain to open in the Parkway Valley.