AN Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has paid tribute to the Limerick Twenty Thirty company, which is transforming huge swathes of the city centre.
Both key planks of the urban renewal plan, the developments will provide office space for thousands of people in the city centre.
Chairman of Twenty Thirty Denis Brosnan has already said Gardens International is set to be fully occupied once it is completed this summer.
And he added that Project Opera – value now almost €200m – is heading in the same direction.
Mr Varadkar, who met chief executive of the strategic development company David Conway, praised Limerick City and County Council for having the foresight to set up the firm in the first place.
He said these city centre sites will “bring life back into the heart of this great city.”
“The story of Limerick in the last couple of years has been a very positive one, an economy that is starting to take off again and also we are very ambitious in developing this city as an economic growth centre. That, of course, means increasing the population but, increasingly, we want people to be in our city centres and Limerick Twenty Thirty really speaks to that,” he said.
Mr Varadkar was joined by former Finance Minister Michael Noonan, plus Senators Maria Byrne and Kieran O’Donnell at the briefing.
Mr Conway said: “The very fact that the Taoiseach took time out of his busy schedule to meet with us says a lot about the role this company is playing. He applauded the programme we are undertaking and was taken both by our intention to take the economy of Limerick to the next level but also by trying to do so through developing iconic but disused sites in the city.”
He said Twenty Thirty is moving at pace, adding: “We have master-planning underway for the Cleeves Riverside Campus and for our Mungret Park residential development. All of this in just 18 months since the company was established.
"The pace of development was not lost on the Taoiseach and he got a real sense of just how much of an impact Limerick Twenty Thirty will have on the city over the coming years.”
Last week, the final piece of the funding jigsaw was put into place with regard to Project Opera, when representatives of the Council of Europe development bank signed an €85m loan across to the local authority.
Coupled with a loan of the same amount from the European Investment Bank, and €30m additional funding, all that remains is for An Bord Pleanala to give the project the green light and building can commence in Patrick Street.