THE Mayor of Limerick has praised the Department of Finance for its “foresight” in drafting a plan to save Limerick’s Georgian heritage.
Cllr Gerry McLoughlin was speaking in relation to the Living City Initiative, which has been published as part of the 2013 Finance Bill.
The pilot project is only aimed at Limerick and Waterford cities at present, and will provide tax relief for owners of wishing to refurbish Georgian houses in designated areas above a certain amount. It also provides tax relief to retailers who carry out works to upgrade or re-fit their shops in the designated Georgian area.
“If Limerick can attract a higher level of residential occupancy in the city, this will have a very positive commercial impact,” said Mayor McLoughlin.
“The scheme has the potential to increase residential occupancy and also have a beneficial impact with the creation of construction employment during the course of the restoration of the residential properties involved”. He paid tribute to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan for delivering this for Limerick.
Tom Enright, the director of economic development and planning at Limerick city and county council, said the project should have a ‘twin benefit’ in restoring some of the city’s existing Georgian architecture to its “former glory while simultaneously driving residential and retail regeneration” in these areas.
Mr Enright added that this is one of a number of initiatives that will help to bring activity into the city centre.
“If you go back 30 years ago, many business people and their families lived in the city centre adjacent to their place of work. We need to create an environment that is attractive for city centre living.”
The precise Georgian residential areas that will qualify for the scheme have yet to be finalised.
Cllr Diarmuid Scully, chairperson of Limerick city council’s economic committee said: “we are entering a very exciting period for Limerick. This is one of a number of targeted initiatives for the city which will see a new Limerick begin to emerge in the not too distant future”.
Maria Kelly of Limerick Chamber gave a “cautious welcome” to the scheme, as she feels the renovation costs may be out of reach for some families.