THE Hanging Gardens site in Henry Street could provide work for 800 people once it is complete, city manager Conn Murray says.
The development, which ground to a halt in the property crash, is set to be completed after City Council entered talks with NAMA.
Original plans for the site by developer Robert Butler would have seen retail space at ground level, and four floors of office accommodation over basement car parking.
It would have seen the reintegration and restoration of the two protected structures, the 1903 Mercantile Building and the 1808 Hanging Gardens Building.
But the development lies half-complete, and is considered by many to be an eyesore.
In his budget report, Mr Murray wrote: “It has been recognised for some time that the lack of availability of quality office space of scale in the city centre is preventing jobs from being attracted to Limerick. Proposals are at an advanced stage to encourage NAMA to complete the partly completed Hanging Gardens development on Henry Street, which could provide quality accommodation for up to 800 people working in the city centre.”
Speaking at the annual Limerick Chamber dinner last month, John Moran, the secretary general at the Department of Finance, compared the stalled project to the building on Dublin’s docklands once proposed to be home to Anglo Irish Bank.
He said these are “two buildings which are an unfortunate reminder of the troubles we had”.
“I can assure you we are focused almost daily, on trying to find the right solution, working with the IDA, NAMA and others, to ensure it is no longer a reminder every day you go through the streets of Limerick of what might have been, but wasn’t. It has to become a building which speaks to the future, and provides office space. As far as I am concerned, we will find a solution to it,” he pledged.
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