LIMERICK city centre is set to receive a boost with the provision of more than 60 additional on-street car parking spaces before Christmas.
The new spaces will be located next to the Granary on Michael Street following the demolition of two buildings within the proposed Opera Centre site.
The former Tiger Lillies restaurant on Ellen Street and the workspace studios on Michael Street are being demolished as part of the Limerick 2030 plan.
The contract to demolish the buildings has been awarded to O’Kelly Brothers Demolition & Environmental Contractors of Ballingarry.
A spokesperson for the company said the works, which started this week, are expected to be completed by the end of this month.
Around 15 people will be employed at the site for the duration of the works.
Much of the rubble will be used as backfill while the concrete will removed from the site and recycled.
Paul Foley, senior executive officer at the department of economic development and planning at City Hall, said once the buildings are demolished a tarmacadam surface will be laid by separate contractors which will allow for the creation of around 60 on-street parking spaces.
Those spaces, which will be in place for the Christmas shopping period, will be governed by existing parking bylaws meaning those who use them will have to display parking discs or pay using the Parkmagic service.
“The works will create a new space at that corner [of the Opera Centre site] and it will clean up that section of the city,” said Mr Foley who added that he hopes the provision of the extra on-street parking spaces in the city centre will give a boost to retailers - especially in the run up to Christmas.
“The buildings were being demolished on safety grounds and we just felt that if we could level it [the site]off and provide additional spaces, it would help given the challenging times that exist at present,” he said, adding that he hopes the works will have both an immediate visual impact and a footfall impact.
It is likely the parking spaces will remain in place for the next 18 months to two years before construction at the Opera Centre site begins.
“Our strategic plan is that if we can get more people working in he city centre , there will be a knock on impact on retail and businesses in the city centre,” he said.
Meanwhile, in another boost for the city centre, it has been confirmed that 75 staff at the department of economic development and planning are set to relocate to the former AIB Bank on Patrick Street in January.
The staff are currently split between City Hall on Merchants Quay and County Hall in Dooradoyle.