The Opera Centre

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby teak » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:32 pm

I see that Jim Long now expects to go 20 m down before he can commence work proper on building the new centre.
I'd estimate that the bedrock is at most 6 m below the surface. And the water table well above that level.
Considering that the overall footprint of the site is very large, do we really need so many levels of car-parking ?
And at what cost, given the amount of rock needing to be drilled out ? And how much sealing of the perimeter, as well as redirection of drainage from neighbouring sites needs to be done ?

Clearly, our Jamsie is being taken for a ride by the promoter.
To avoid another wart on the Limerick skyline, I'd be happy that Jim and all the rest of the council went on a one-off junket to Milan to see the Galleria Vittorio Emanuale II. If we must have a new shopping arcade, let it be tasteful.
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby bjg » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:02 pm

Perhaps hizzonner would like to read this: http://www.lamag.com/features/Story.aspx?ID=1568281

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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby PaperArchitect » Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:51 am

The last thing Limerick needs is another shopping centre, and something as large and grotesque as the opera centre. I'd like to see streets running through the site, alternating between inside and outside. The site is far too large to dedicate to indoor shopping. Definitely, the principles of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuale II would be very welcome, but far beyond Limerick City Council. Who exactly makes the decisions in the council? Are there architects or urban planners in there? Or is Jim Long the head of the posse..
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:41 pm

Some quite puzzling quotes attributed to the "economic director" of the forthcoming combined Limerick local authority in the press recently.

http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/business/key-limerick-city-site-not-suitable-for-big-retailer-1-4609522

It's laughable really that the site which for the most part of the last decade was trumpeted by Limerick City Council amongst others as imperative to the commercial revitalisation of the city centre can suddenly be deemed unsuitable for this purpose despite being put through an exhaustive planning process twice.

Let's see;

• It’s a large city centre site in dire need of a combination of redevelopment and conservation.
• Immediately adjacent to established commercial, shopping and leisure areas.
• Planning permission is already secured for a large retail project so obviously this type of development is acceptable in principle
• The site is under the control of the local authority (although it's hard to tell if this is a positive or an impediment).

No clearly it doesn’t make sense on any of these fronts! :wtf:

Essentially this is an admission by the local authority that they are way out of their depth here and haven't a notion what to do with the site nor how to proceed with a redevelopment.

It's over a year now since Limerick City Council purchased the site and it obviously begs the question what exactly have they been doing for the past 12 months?

I fear that the lack of a co-ordinated effort not to mention a comprehensive master plan will just result in a piecemeal, make it up as you go along approach that will inevitably lead to a disjointed and underwhelming development of the site.

Of course that's not to say that a re-evaluation of the original concept isn't required. It's safe to assume now that the shopping centre proposal is never going to be built. Indeed a development of such considerable retail floor space can hardly be justified given that the reality check has well and truly set in.

All things considered my preference would be for a new pedestrian street flanked by purpose built, appropriately scaled and sensitively designed individual shop units (with linkages to the existing buildings and dual frontage where possible) snaking through from the Ellen Street/Patrick Street corner to a quality public space on Bank Place. Something along the lines of the opera lane project in Cork roughly. Perhaps an element of office space and residential accommodation could also be included. There's ample room after all on what is a pretty extensive site.

I'd also like to see the granary building afforded a more prominent position in the redevelopment. Integration to the centre of the site is easily achieved. At the moment too much of the original building is concealed by the 1980s office block. The fabric of this structure, its stonework and arches should be showcased not hidden. The removal of the office building would also afford the opportunity to extend the internal courtyard space along the entire length of the granary.

I really wish Limerick City Council would get off their arses and demonstrate that they are at least formulating plans or considering some uses for the site even in the short term.

Why not tear down that dog ugly hoarding and fencing along Michael Street. Clear those industrial buildings in the yard at the centre of the site and lay out a temporary car park. At least it would be a start. Why not also make the structurally sound buildings that have been vacant for the last 5 years available for rent again?

Show some imagination for feck sake!
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby pigtown » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:10 pm

Tuborg wrote:Some quite puzzling quotes attributed to the "economic director" of the forthcoming combined Limerick local authority in the press recently.

http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/business/key-limerick-city-site-not-suitable-for-big-retailer-1-4609522

It's laughable really that the site which for the most part of the last decade was trumpeted by Limerick City Council amongst others as imperative to the commercial revitalisation of the city centre can suddenly be deemed unsuitable for this purpose despite being put through an exhaustive planning process twice.


Frankly I'm happy someone is shouting stop before the thing actually gets built. In fairness to the economic director he is a new appointment and had no input into the Opera Centre plans.

Tuborg wrote:Let's see;

• It’s a large city centre site in dire need of a combination of redevelopment and conservation.
• Immediately adjacent to established commercial, shopping and leisure areas.
• Planning permission is already secured for a large retail project so obviously this type of development is acceptable in principle
• The site is under the control of the local authority (although it's hard to tell if this is a positive or an impediment).

No clearly it doesn’t make sense on any of these fronts! :wtf:


*Can't disagree there.
*Fair enough Arthur's Quay is established but it's hardly a destination in the city.
*The key word here I think is in 'principle'. Sure, the proposal didn't contravene any zonings or the retail hierarchy of the region but at the same time it was way too big for the city.
*I don't think it would matter who was in control of the site. That much new retail space would only serve to take from the rest of the city core.

Tuborg wrote:Essentially this is an admission by the local authority that they are way out of their depth here and haven't a notion what to do with the site nor how to proceed with a redevelopment.

It's over a year now since Limerick City Council purchased the site and it obviously begs the question what exactly have they been doing for the past 12 months?

I fear that the lack of a co-ordinated effort not to mention a comprehensive master plan will just result in a piecemeal, make it up as you go along approach that will inevitably lead to a disjointed and underwhelming development of the site.

Of course that's not to say that a re-evaluation of the original concept isn't required. It's safe to assume now that the shopping centre proposal is never going to be built. Indeed a development of such considerable retail floor space can hardly be justified given that the reality check has well and truly set in.


While I don't disagree that the council are out of their depth in undertaking such a huge redevelopment project, I don't see them admitting anything. The new director has taken a look at the plans and has decided that they are not feasible.

A master plan for the future development of the entire city has been commissioned and is due for publication and I think any decisions on the site before this is published would have been grossly negligent of the council.

I don't think a shopping proposal on the scale that was envisaged was ever viable. It would have drawn business' and customers away from the existing retail core and would have had an overall negative impact on the city centre. In my opinion, had this gone ahead and filled all of the units then people would have had little reason to go anywhere in the city.

Tuborg wrote:All things considered my preference would be for a new pedestrian street flanked by purpose built, appropriately scaled and sensitively designed individual shop units (with linkages to the existing buildings and dual frontage where possible) snaking through from the Ellen Street/Patrick Street corner to a quality public space on Bank Place. Something along the lines of the opera lane project in Cork roughly. Perhaps an element of office space and residential accommodation could also be included. There's ample room after all on what is a pretty extensive site.


It seems like I'm disagreeing with everything you say but I'm not sure that the city needs another street, not when we already have so many dead streets in the city. Also I think developments like Opera Lane and City Central really detract from a city. All of the shopfronts look the same and there is no variety. It's almost like a shopping centre.

Tuborg wrote:I'd also like to see the granary building afforded a more prominent position in the redevelopment. Integration to the centre of the site is easily achieved. At the moment too much of the original building is concealed by the 1980s office block. The fabric of this structure, its stonework and arches should be showcased not hidden. The removal of the office building would also afford the opportunity to extend the internal courtyard space along the entire length of the granary.


Agreed.

Tuborg wrote:I really wish Limerick City Council would get off their arses and demonstrate that they are at least formulating plans or considering some uses for the site even in the short term.

Why not tear down that dog ugly hoarding and fencing along Michael Street. Clear those industrial buildings in the yard at the centre of the site and lay out a temporary car park. At least it would be a start. Why not also make the structurally sound buildings that have been vacant for the last 5 years available for rent again?

Show some imagination for feck sake!


Well the plans are almost complete I think. It is possible that the council don't want to touch the site in a piecemeal fashion so as to minimise costs when something does happen, this is unlikely however and they are probably content to do a lot of talking without taking action, like the situation with the city museum. With regard to renting out some buildings, I'd imagine the rat problem is pretty severe there and any business would be hard pressed to pass any heath inspections.

What I would like to see in the site is loads of modern office space. If you consider that that any decent sized company wanting to set up in the city would probably need to build their own office building first, a large quantity of good quality office space would be a major asset. I don't believe it should be used for retail as there are plenty of sites nearer to the core that have been identified in the most recent city development plan that are suitable for large scale developments.
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby bjg » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:58 pm

Why would any service company want to set up in the city? Why not take a site on an industrial estate (sorry: business park) somewhere, with lots of parking spaces?

The Opera Centre proposal seemed to envisage turning the city centre into a suburban shopping centre. But the suburban shopping centres are already quite good at that and have better road access. The project's appeal to the city fathers seemed to be that retail would provide a high-margin activity that could justify the city's continued existence, but it may be that no such activity exists. Large manufacturing, retail and service (even public service) activities don't need the city, so what is it for?

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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:05 am

Well Cork and Galway also seem to have suburban shopping centres and yet their city centres are buzzing. The fact is that people will go where the buzz is, and there's now a cycle of decline in Limerick city where fewer and fewer people are going because the lack of people is making it a less pleasant place to be. There's a few things which need to be done:

1. Get more people living in the city centre. Maybe the Opera centre could have a significant residential portion involved. If people live there, people will shop there.
2. Clean up the city centre. I think this is really one of the main reasons for Limerick's decline. It's just not a nice place to be - at least in terms of its shopping areas. There are certain stretches of William St. which demonstrate what rejuvenation plans might achieve, but the pedestrianization has frankly completely failed to rescue the place. Somebody really needs to start knocking down or beautifying the 70s and 80s buildings, which are reminiscent of the worst English suburbs. Number one priority should be Brown Thomas, which should actually look like what it is - the flagship store of the entire city. Maybe BT will at least revamp the facade when the pedestrianization of O'Connell St. is being carried out.
3. Start moving parts of UL into the city centre. In retrospect, the decision not to build UL closer to Limerick City might have been a bit of a disaster. Not only would it have brought interesting new architectural developments, but it would have transplanted thousands of young people currently living in Castletroy into the city centre.
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby bjg » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:33 am

I think you're getting at something when you talk about "buzz". [Personally, I'd run a mile from it, but chacun a son gout.] In what does "buzzing" consist, why do people want to do it, what conditions make it possible and do the economic benefits outweigh the costs?

I don't know, but allow me to speculate. If, for instance, it involves a lot of young folk sitting around drinking expensive coffee, and then going to hops [or whatever they're called nowadays] at night, you can begin to define a target market and to cost a plan. But you might decide that those activities are already catered for in Limerick, some of them at Plassey. Maybe it should be developed as the young folks' ghetto: older adults will not necessarily be attracted by the idea of having lots more students around the place and the proposal might accelerate their own flight.

Your proposal to get more people living in the city centre just pushes the question out a notch. Why would anyone want to live there, when there are no parking spaces and no gardens? Perhaps they would like to live close to where they work, but are the jobs in the city? And if they're not, how will the folk get to their jobs without parking spaces for their cars?

It seems to me that proposals to decorate or clean or otherwise prettify the city (including the boardwalks, pedestrianisation and other planners' ideas) will all fail unless there is an economic justification for the city's continued existence. Warehosues, meat factories, mills and so on were what built [modern] Limerick, not coffee shops and boardwalks. I don't want to put words in your mouth, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but the "buzzing city" concept seems to be one based on the leisure and entertainment industries. That's fine, provided that the plan is clear and the costs and benefits are assessed. But to me, with no knowledge of architecture or city planning, much of the discussion of Limerick regeneration seems to be based on unrealistic ideas of what can (or should) be achieved, on a particular and fairly narrow set of activities and actors (young folk drinking coffee) and on a neglect of the economic underpinnings.

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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:26 pm

But this is not the 19th century. As much as people may want it, there will be no manufacturing in the city centre - that is not how modern city centres work. So what is the city centre for, then, but for leisure and living? I don't see what the problem with that is - it's the model of every other city in Ireland, and most cities in Europe. I don't see a lot of manufacturing in central Paris or central Dublin.

It's not just about young people drinking coffee, but that's a part of it. The city centre should be a place where people from different areas of the city, and surrounding towns, come to socialize. It should be a place where they can get an atmosphere and facilities they can't get anywhere else. Again, what's the problem with that? If you can think of a better, more sustainable use for a historic core of a city, now's the time.

And I think the appearance of the city centre is crucial, not just because it'll make more local people want to go there, but because it'll draw tourism. Another big use for modern city centres is tourism, which draws in money for the further improvement of the lives of its citizens. Limerick has more in the way of historic landmarks and tourist sites than Cork or Galway, yet it gets overlooked because it is thought to be, with some justification, grotty and dank.
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby bjg » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:01 pm

The point about nineteenth century manufacturing is that it, and the transport technology of the time, provided an economic reason for a lot of people to live in a high-density city centre. First, you seem to be starting with the presumption that there must be city centres; I don't think that should be taken for granted.

Second, you seem to accept that there must be economic activities to support the cities, but I am mildly surprised to find that the only such activities you can think of are all leisure-related (I include tourism in that).

Third, there are several problems in the way of a leisure-based city economy: (a) lots of leisure activities are best carried out elsewhere, (b) leisure activities may drive out residents (I don't want students vomiting on my doorstep in the early hours of the morning thank you very much), (c) leisure gets cut in economic slumps, (d) I don't think that tarted-up streets constitute a distinctive Limerick brand (but Limerick Ham made in Limerick might) .... In fact, being better than Cork or Galway is irrelevant: what this region lacks is something that attracts people from abroad to Ireland, not something that attracts those already in Ireland away from Cork or Galway.

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PS here's an interesting point http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/01/facts-about-cities.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+marginalrevolution%2Ffeed+%28Marginal+Revolution%29.
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:51 am

Well that's fair enough. Maybe there don't have to be city centres. Maybe we can all drive from one retail park to another, and from one suburban pub to another. We could just shut down the city centre, and dissolve Limerick as a city and as a community. I think most people would disagree with you.

You seem to think that "leisure activities" encompasses in its entirety students sitting in cafes and vomiting on doorsteps. Shopping is a leisure activity, as is going to a poetry reading, or visiting a library. So is sitting in parks, admiring the river, and admiring buildings. People generally are interested in leisure activities, as evidenced by the number of people who visit the Crescent Shopping Centre. People are also quite interested in doing it in the context of a city centre, as evidenced by Cork and Galway and Dublin. And competing with them is not irrelevant, but actually vital. There is nothing, and there never will be anything, that will attract people from abroad to Ireland in this region. That's not why people visit Ireland. They visit Ireland mainly to visit Ireland, not to visit Cork, or the Rock of Cashel, or Kilkenny, and certainly not King John's Castle. So if we're competing, we're competing for a slice of that pie.

There are plenty of potential Limerick brands. On the other hand, this is an architecture and planning forum. Limerick is in some rather important places a grotty dump, and, again, most people would probably disagree with you that making Limerick better for the benefit of its citizens is nothing more than a futile exercise in "tarting up" the city to be sneered at. That's really the mentality that spent the last century destroying Ireland's architectural heritage.
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby pigtown » Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:49 pm

According to the Leader the amalgamated planning department of the new local authority will be the first tenants of the Opera Centre site. They will be relocated to the old AIB building on the corner of Patrick St. and Ellen Street. This is the most modern building on the site and needs minimal work to make it habitable. I don't know how many people will be based there but it's a start at bringing people back into the city anyway.
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:33 pm

pigtown wrote:
I don't think a shopping proposal on the scale that was envisaged was ever viable. It would have drawn business' and customers away from the existing retail core and would have had an overall negative impact on the city centre. In my opinion, had this gone ahead and filled all of the units then people would have had little reason to go anywhere in the city.


I think you are overestimating the extent of the so called retail core if that’s even an appropriate term to use given the paucity of the current offering. Realistically Limericks shopping district currently stretches from the O’Connell Street/Roches Street junction down as far as Denmark Street along with some of the adjoining streets and laneways. Hardly what you would call expansive!

If you recall, up until 5 or so years ago Rutland Street and Lower Patrick Street were lined with a variety of businesses; retail stores, cafes etc before the misguided decision to remove the occupants before redevelopment plans were even finalised. So this portion of the city centre was/is very much part of the commercial zone.

In reality though the quality of Limericks retail line-up has evolved disappointingly since the Cruises Street project opened over 20 years ago now. William Street for example never capitalised on the momentum created along with the increased footfall in its vicinity and the opportunity to freshen up the street was lost. It has stagnated at best since.

Similarly with O'Connell Street we saw only modest investment in retail premises even throughout the excesses of the "boom" years. The former Sony centre outlet has been vacant and up for sale for a number of years at this stage. The former Fergusons chemist across the street likewise. The calibre of many businesses on the street currently is poor and significant renovation and possibly amalgamation of properties is needed to attract new, higher quality tenants. There's no sign that this is forthcoming and you can't exactly usurp the existing occupants either.

pigtown wrote:
It seems like I'm disagreeing with everything you say but I'm not sure that the city needs another street, not when we already have so many dead streets in the city. Also I think developments like Opera Lane and City Central really detract from a city. All of the shopfronts look the same and there is no variety. It's almost like a shopping centre.



You might not be a fan but in fairness that City Central development along with the pedestrianisation scheme completely revitalised Bedford Row. It brought high quality retail and residential accommodation along with a five star hotel to the city centre on what was a neglected and decaying site. Do you remember how dingy it looked previously? Take a look at the attachments below. :thumbdown:

The project also attracted the first significant batch of retailers in to the city centre for many years, most of them not represented in Limerick previously. All the units are fully let too. It’s clear that in order to entice quality brands in to the city centre accommodation of an appropriate size and standard is required. I believe a project similar to that on Bedford Row could work well for the opera centre site. By bringing in fresh blood and more footfall one would hope that it would provide a knock-on benefit to the city centre at large.


pigtown wrote:
What I would like to see in the site is loads of modern office space. If you consider that that any decent sized company wanting to set up in the city would probably need to build their own office building first, a large quantity of good quality office space would be a major asset. I don't believe it should be used for retail as there are plenty of sites nearer to the core that have been identified in the most recent city development plan that are suitable for large scale developments.


I’m not convinced that the opera site is best suited to a large office development. Sure it might bring further employment in to town but large scale office blocks generally provide quite a dead, dull street presence and won’t exactly draw people in to the city except for the employees obviously. An element of office space could of course be accommodated but I wouldn’t like to see the majority of the site given over to it.

There are other locations that are more suitable for this purpose. The half built GPO/hanging gardens development which is in NAMA was to contain a large amount of office space over 6 floors or so. It should be a priority to have this completed at the earliest opportunity. The former ESB building and eventually Henry Street Garda headquarters provide another large scale redevelopment opportunity on the quays along with the portion of the docklands that SFPA are looking to offload. A significant amount of office space is currently vacant in the building at the corner of Thomas Street/Catherine Street as well.

pigtown wrote:
A master plan for the future development of the entire city has been commissioned and is due for publication and I think any decisions on the site before this is published would have been grossly negligent of the council.


I admire you optimism but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’ve lost count of the number of glossy city centre strategies and development plans that have been released over the years. They’re hardly worth the paper they’re printed on. This will simply be a regurgitation of the same aspirational spiel which is churned out endlessly and that the City Council have neither the ability nor the will to follow through on!
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby bjg » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:52 pm

rumpelstiltskin wrote:Maybe there don't have to be city centres.


Well, of course there don't. A city is one form of social, political, economic, technological etc organisation, appropriate to one set of social, political, economic, technological etc factors. Change any of those factors and you change the form of organisation that is needed. I see no need to try to preserve cities, towns, monasteries, office blocks, canals or whatever after their economic etc justification has ceased, although I'm quite happy to examine the remains — or the ruins.

Look at Askeaton: lots of interesting ruins.

rumpelstiltskin wrote:Maybe we can all drive from one retail park to another, and from one suburban pub to another. We could just shut down the city centre, and dissolve Limerick as a city and as a community. I think most people would disagree with you.


We don't need to drive from one place to another: Messrs Amazon's drivers will deliver the stuff to us after we've bought it on tinterweb. We don't need intermediate merchants carrying expensive stocks of (for instance) CDs, washing machines or books: we can read the reviews online and get the stuff delivered.

On the other hand, we don't need to "shut down the city centre" and I don't argue that "we" should do so. I simply say that (a) if, as I believe, the economic justification for the continuing existence of some cities is weakening, many folk will just stop going there and some cities, some towns, some advance factories etc can decay gracefully without anyone's having to do anything expensive to shut them down and (b) unless you can think of an economic justification for investment in the infrastructure of a former century, you are going to waste a lot of money trying to prop it up.

rumpelstiltskin wrote:You seem to think that "leisure activities" encompasses in its entirety students sitting in cafes and vomiting on doorsteps. [...]


Actually, I was hoping to provoke you into coming up with a set of economic activities that would justify investment in a city and that could not be done more cheaply or more effectively elsewhere. I have, alas, failed in this: you don't seem to have any idea of what sort of activities could be laid on that would provide a return on the investment. And you have extraordinarily confused ideas about attracting tourists.

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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:18 am

No, you're right. We'll attract plenty of tourists by abandoning the city centre. It's literally impossible to imagine how a city could be viable in the 21st century - every other city in Europe is already dead.
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby pigtown » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:30 pm

Tuborg wrote:
I think you are overestimating the extent of the so called retail core if that’s even an appropriate term to use given the paucity of the current offering. Realistically Limericks shopping district currently stretches from the O’Connell Street/Roches Street junction down as far as Denmark Street along with some of the adjoining streets and laneways. Hardly what you would call expansive!

If you recall, up until 5 or so years ago Rutland Street and Lower Patrick Street were lined with a variety of businesses; retail stores, cafes etc before the misguided decision to remove the occupants before redevelopment plans were even finalised. So this portion of the city centre was/is very much part of the commercial zone.

In reality though the quality of Limericks retail line-up has evolved disappointingly since the Cruises Street project opened over 20 years ago now. William Street for example never capitalised on the momentum created along with the increased footfall in its vicinity and the opportunity to freshen up the street was lost. It has stagnated at best since.

Similarly with O'Connell Street we saw only modest investment in retail premises even throughout the excesses of the "boom" years. The former Sony centre outlet has been vacant and up for sale for a number of years at this stage. The former Fergusons chemist across the street likewise. The calibre of many businesses on the street currently is poor and significant renovation and possibly amalgamation of properties is needed to attract new, higher quality tenants. There's no sign that this is forthcoming and you can't exactly usurp the existing occupants either.


Yeah I agree with everything you said here, which is why I think utilising the site for retail would be wrong. I would assume that any new retail on the site would be high profile nationally, like Victoria Square, Dundrum TC or at the very least, Opera Lane. The council would be looking to attract major names and at least one department store. Should they succeed then the area, which once housed local stores and businesses that would really only attract local customers, would become the new core of the city. The powers that be would be more in line to focus on amalgamating and enhancing properties on Cruises St., William St., and O'Connell St. As we have seen from the Opera Centre site it is possible to put large development sites together in the city.


You might not be a fan but in fairness that City Central development along with the pedestrianisation scheme completely revitalised Bedford Row. It brought high quality retail and residential accommodation along with a five star hotel to the city centre on what was a neglected and decaying site. Do you remember how dingy it looked previously? Take a look at the attachments below. :thumbdown:

The project also attracted the first significant batch of retailers in to the city centre for many years, most of them not represented in Limerick previously. All the units are fully let too. It’s clear that in order to entice quality brands in to the city centre accommodation of an appropriate size and standard is required. I believe a project similar to that on Bedford Row could work well for the opera centre site. By bringing in fresh blood and more footfall one would hope that it would provide a knock-on benefit to the city centre at large.



Just to be clear here, of course Bedford Row is a million times better than it was, I would just prefer if the design involved some variety from unit to unit so that it gives the illusion of a vibrant and interesting street. And I use the word illusion because although it is much nicer, it is still a pretty boring street, both to look at and to pass through.

I’m not convinced that the opera site is best suited to a large office development. Sure it might bring further employment in to town but large scale office blocks generally provide quite a dead, dull street presence and won’t exactly draw people in to the city except for the employees obviously. An element of office space could of course be accommodated but I wouldn’t like to see the majority of the site given over to it.

There are other locations that are more suitable for this purpose. The half built GPO/hanging gardens development which is in NAMA was to contain a large amount of office space over 6 floors or so. It should be a priority to have this completed at the earliest opportunity. The former ESB building and eventually Henry Street Garda headquarters provide another large scale redevelopment opportunity on the quays along with the portion of the docklands that SFPA are looking to offload. A significant amount of office space is currently vacant in the building at the corner of Thomas Street/Catherine Street as well.


Maybe you're right. I suppose the site is too big to devote itself exclusively to retail. office, or residential. A good mix of each would probably be the best bet.

I admire you optimism but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’ve lost count of the number of glossy city centre strategies and development plans that have been released over the years. They’re hardly worth the paper they’re printed on. This will simply be a regurgitation of the same aspirational spiel which is churned out endlessly and that the City Council have neither the ability nor the will to follow through on!


You have to be optimistic in this country as it would be all too easy to become a cynical, pessimistic old man with the state of the country. I am more positive about the upcoming plan because unlike the last masterplan for Arthur's Quay, the council actually own the site and seem to have a driven and ambitious new city manager.
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby PaperArchitect » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:56 am

Bedford Row may be better than it was, but as architects the discussion goes beyond economic benefits and attracting retail. Bedford Row is not a good public space, you don't need an architect to tell you that.
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Re: The Opera Centre

Postby teak » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:15 am

My own view is this.
I see no sense in having a (seriously) third level college in the city centre.
This is the wrong place for students due to city distractions, more expensive accommodation, no sports amenities at hand and no scope for that campus to expand.
Neither is it desirable to have one end of the city swarming with students most of the day.
The raising of this idea of a UL city campus seemed at that time very sudden to me.
It was almost like someone doing some commercial lateral thinking : get the students in and fleece them of their pocket money -- that'll keep the existing city traders going.

To me, The Granary ought be preserved. God knows the people in the 1980s put enough effort into its remodelling. Personally, I'd get rid of the Trinity Rooms, Shannon Development, NSAI, etc and turn the whole building into a proper modern city library, mediathèque, language learning labs and local studies museum. Local business/industry badly need a reference library plus patents/trademarks search facility and I see this part of it paying for itself. Maybe you could also have a geneology section which could be self-supporting.I mourn the loss of the WorkSpace units but accept that this facility may be placed elsewhere if that plot is needed for other more pressing facilities.
The old pharma preparation unit to the right of The Granary and the old Georgians on Patrick Street, these must be sorted out. What to do with them, I'm not sure.
But a city campus here is daft.
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