Plans are moving forward to transform Limerick's iconic Opera Site into Ireland's largest inner-city commercial development outside of Dublin.
A planning application has been submitted to An Bord Pleanála, which will see the site host up to 3,000 employees as well as residential, retail, new plazas and bar/restaurant offerings.
The project is being spearheaded by Limerick Twenty Thirty DAC, a group formed by the local council to transform a number of disused iconic sites in Limerick into catalysts for economic growth and job creation.
The 1.62 hectare Opera Site is the largest project in the programme and will be developed over a six-year period at a total cost of circa €180m. It is fully funded by the European Investment Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank.
It includes the restoration of a number of iconic buildings, and will be developed to LEED Gold and Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standards.
This announcement comes after the opening of the first major Limerick Twenty Thirty project, Gardens International.
The €17.6 million build was completed over 18 months, mixing the architecture of the early 19th century Roches Hanging Gardens, which included roof-top gardens of exotic fruits; the Mercantile Building; the former General Post Office developed there a century later and a new build to the rear.
Welcoming the progress, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr James Collins said: "This is a new era for Limerick. When we initially embarked on this process it required vision and commitment. Today that is paying off.
"It is a hugely rewarding to see what has been achieved at Gardens International and as we look ahead to the development of the Opera Site it is a very exciting indeed."
CEO of Limerick City and County Council, Conn Murray added: "This is all taking shape because Limerick City and County Councillors had the courage in the first instance to establish Limerick Twenty Thirty as one of the outputs from our Limerick 2030 Economic and Spatial Plan unveiled in 2013.
"We identified a number of key deliverables in that, including creating 12,000 jobs over the lifetime of the plan. We've already achieved that in Limerick in the five years since and Limerick Twenty Thirty is about ensuring we continue to build on that.
"With Gardens now complete and heading fast for full occupancy, we move onto the Opera site we've now also lodged a planning application on behalf of Limerick Twenty Thirty for Opera, which will be the single most important project for this region in decades and includes a number of iconic new buildings, not least the new Revenue building."