COMMERCIAL rates in Limerick city will have fallen by around 30% inside three years, according to Cllr Diarmuid Scully, who added investors who buy up property in the city centre now could expect “massive” returns.
“Within two years, the commercial rates (of Limerick City and County Councils) are going to be equalised. They have to be because by law we will be a single entity,” Cllr Scully said.
“That will be done in two ways. Firstly, there will be a single rate and, secondly, the current rate on valuation that is used, whereby city centre premises are charged 26% more, will also change.”
“Even if Limerick city and county were to equalise rates today you would still be charged 26% more but that is also going to be rebalanced and the actual benefit to any business in three years time will be somewhere in the region of 30%,” he said.
“Property in Limerick city centre is cheaper than you will find in any other city centre in the country. Rents are cheaper than you will find in any other city centre in the country and rates are about to fall massively. Now is the time to invest. And the message has to get out there that this is the time to buy in Limerick because there will never be a better bargain than what is out there now. If you were to buy a property in Limerick now, it would massively increase in value within two to three years.”
Cllr Scully was speaking after Limerick’s director of economic development Tom Enright set out a vision for the Opera Centre site, which he said could in time be home to 2,000 to 3,000 workers.
Georgian buildings were currently being surveyed to see which could be retained and which were “beyond economic repair”.
Modern office accommodation could be built on the site, something Cllr Scully said Limerick city was lacking in if it was serious about attracting foreign direct investment.
Census data showing Galway now had a higher daytime working population than Limerick was misleading as it did not consider the boundary which divided Limerick city from its suburbs, Cllr Scully said.
Limerick was about to get an effective boundary extension that would at the stroke of a pen bring the city’s population to at least 95,000. The population within Cork city’s boundary, he said, was 125,000 and that would not change.
“We should forget about overtaking Galway. That is done. We should be setting our sights on Cork and trying to regain our position that we had for centuries as the second city in the country,” Cllr Scully declared.