New lease of life for vacant Georgian building in Limerick

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

An architect’s impression of the new residential and commercial development at 68 O’Connell Street, which got the green light from Limerick City and County Council Picture: David H Leahy Architects

An architect’s impression of the new residential and commercial development at 68 O’Connell Street, which got the green light from Limerick City and County Council Picture: David H Leahy Architects

A VACANT multi-storey Georgian building will have one of the most ambitious restorations in its 193 years in Limerick city centre.

At 68 O’Connell Street, four storeys and a basement will be completely revamped and transformed into major commercial spaces and a “generous-sized apartment” on the top floor.

The O’Donnell Family Partnership sought planning permission for the major project on September 15, 2017 and permission was granted on January 24.

David H Leahy Architects is the architect leading the design of the new project.

On the rear of the site, with access to Daly’s Lane, a separate two-storey mews will be constructed. This site will be a commercial building, and will include a recording studio.

An open courtyard will link the old and new buildings “which when we put a delicate glass roof over this space turns it into a wonderful light-filled atrium”, Mr Leahy said.

He said that the atrium has been the “jewel in the crown of the whole scheme’s design”.

The protected structure, whose original Georgian features remain “fully intact”, will join the new building through the atrium via “a delicate glass footbridge”.

“The beauty in what we’re proposing is that the new structures are very respectful of their older partner and are purposefully positioned in a subordinate manner, thus sited well back from the old building leaving it plenty of room to breathe.”

Mr Leahy told the Leader that they had “several meetings” with Limerick City and County Council officials, including the senior architect to discuss the Living City Initiative. 

In an appraisal of the proposed design, Mr Leahy said: “I believe this proposed scheme design is a very good example of how we can continue to enjoy and preserve these wonderful old buildings and yet at the same time still provide fun, new and creative places in which we wish to live and work. I know both the occupants of this building and its many visitors will also enjoy our proposed new living and working experience.”

And welcoming the council’s green light for the project, he said the “true intent of our proposals being to breathe new life into this older building”.

“We see this unique development as being a significant addition to all of the other amazing projects being planned for Limerick.

“This scheme design will serve as an enhancement to the city, helping to bring life back into its central core, a true way forward for all of our continued efforts in making Limerick a wonderful, exciting and vibrant living city.”