Fine Gael Senator Kieran O’Donnell, pictured to the rear of the Opera site
FINE Gael senator Kieran O’Donnell has added his voice to calls for more residential units to be added to Limerick’s Project Opera.
Mr O’Donnell was one of many who took part in a major consultation on the €180m project, which will see lands off Patrick Street completely transformed into a retail/commercial development.
Some 15% of the project will be living spaces – with 10% of this an apart-hotel providing accommodation for city visitors.
Now Mr O’Donnell has called for the “positioning and quantity” of residential to be increased.
“In the proposed Opera centre site plan, some of the best views in Limerick city will be given over exclusively to offices with only a nine to five usage. Could some residential offering be incorporated into the higher floors of the buildings overlooking Bank Place on the riverside,” he asked in a submission to Limerick Twenty Thirty, which is responsible for directing the project, which could bring up to 3,000 new jobs.
He also called for a relocation of the entrances to the courtyards, where the public library will face.
“If a pedestrian access point was to be placed on the junction of Patrick street and Ellen Street, it would directly link and open the plaza up to the city centre. An example of this in action is the natural flow of pedestrians through the Arthur’s Quay entrance closest to the city centre versus the other two entrances. Another entrance to the Opera site on the corner of Ellen Street and Michael Street would also capture the flow of people coming from Cruises Street and from the Milk Market,” he suggested.
“There is an real opportunity here to create an area of the city that is vibrant from 7am to midnight. By not positioning some entrances into the plaza square to capture the natural flow of pedestrians and positioning the residential units to the rear of the development only, you may run the risk of limiting the development of the area to its full potential,” he warned.
Mr O’Donnell said he welcomed the “ambition and scale” of Project Opera, however.
“It will be a landmark development that will shape the skyline of Limerick city for generations to come. We must ensure we get everything right with the project,” he said.