The Opera Centre

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:42 am

KeepAnEyeOnBob wrote:Politically unpopular, but I would suggest the most significant factor in Thomas St./Bedford Row isn't the nice paving, lighting, trees or new developments - it's scrapping traffic and on-street parking.


Well it's a combination. Catherine Street still has traffic but is equally a place that makes you want to stroll upon it. If I had it my way, the whole centre would be pedestrianised
rumpelstiltskin
Member
 
Posts: 234
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:51 pm

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby jimg » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:56 pm

While I also would prefer to see a Powerscourt Centre or IFI/Temple Bar Square (for all its faults) type of development here, it has to be acknowledged that this is a big advance on what was being proposed previously (which you could say would not be hard). It certainly is not perfect but the restoration and preservation of such a large number of historic buildings and facades and more importantly ensuring that a significant proportion of units are street facing rather than inward facing is a huge improvement.
jimg
Member
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 9:07 pm
Location: Zürich

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby dave123 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:36 pm

jimg wrote:While I also would prefer to see a Powerscourt Centre or IFI/Temple Bar Square (for all its faults) type of development here, it has to be acknowledged that this is a big advance on what was being proposed previously (which you could say would not be hard). It certainly is not perfect but the restoration and preservation of such a large number of historic buildings and facades and more importantly ensuring that a significant proportion of units are street facing rather than inward facing is a huge improvement.



Well I would concur with that. But if we went with that, underground carparking and the upper floors would be removed.


I personally would want more shops onto Patrick street have shop frontage and frontal street access, to create more footfall on the street. To give the street a more natural pedestrian enironment. I fear that Patrick street/Rutland street will become dead. Arthurs quay had this problem too.As does many shopping malls in cities. Where the only access was the mall entrance, leaving the Patrick street side just dreary and flat walled for most of its block. It needs to be taking into valid consideration.

Also another aspect they could do instead of going for the usual modern glazed slabbing on parvements. Is they could blend the new into the old streetways. like put old type lanerns in the mall rather than the usual monotone lights. etc. Old pictures of the city along most of its corridors. All these could bring all the important symbolism of what the Opera centre could be? Just an idea.


The centre of the shopping mall, should be more cafe oreintated rather than the usual Macca's/Burger King outlets.

Overall I'm giving this a 8/10. The little ideas can be incoporated with no extra cost to money:)
dave123
Senior Member
 
Posts: 511
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:54 am
Location: Co. Dublin

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby KeepAnEyeOnBob » Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:36 am

rumpelstiltskin wrote:Well it's a combination. Catherine Street still has traffic but is equally a place that makes you want to stroll upon it. If I had it my way, the whole centre would be pedestrianised


Down to one lane of one-way traffic, with removal of onstreet parking. I.e. the footpath space has far more than doubled. I would again suggest this is one of the most significant factors in increasing *footfall* in the area.

I think the likes of O'Connell St./Patrick St./William St. etc. even without extravagant pedestrianisation they would be better places for pedestrians just by swapping the on-street parking for pedestrian space. On-street parking seems a gross waste of space.

Even with the deadness that will result from Patrick St. being sandwiched between Arthur's Quay and Opera Centre - I think people would walk up it more if they had all the space that's currently used for on-street parking. If you can't appreciate how hemmed in, cramped and unaccommodated that pedestrians are in the city centre at present - just try walking around the non-modified parts with a buggy (or indeed as a group of people). Patrick St. only has two lanes of traffic - if the on-street parking was removed, the majority of the road space would be available for pedestrians. Even just filling it in with concrete - no remodelling, would suddenly "semi-pedestrianise" the street (the same goes for other city centre streets).

I do not think a shopping centre type development is best for the city centre - I think it's just trying to avoid having to do any real work in improving the city centre and getting some developers to have a field day and provide an *alternative* to the city centre despite being physically located in it (and only just in the case of Opera Centre - Bank Place end is quite some way away from the real centre, say William St./O'Connell St. crossroad, with Roches St. being the opposite fringe of the shopping area - about as far away from centre as just Ellen St.).
KeepAnEyeOnBob
Member
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:11 pm
Location: Limerick

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby CologneMike » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:28 pm

An Bord Pleanála (PL30 .231180) Grant permission with revised conditions


LIMERICK OPERA CENTRE GETS GREEN LIGHT (live95fm)

An Bord Pleanala have approved planning for the €350 million Limerick Opera Centre.

The seven hundred and fifty thousand square foot development is the largest ever planned for the city and will include a retail and restaurant complex as well as three floors of underground car parking.

Marks and Spencers are reportedly interested in becoming tenants in the new building which will take around 3 years to complete.

Up to 500 jobs could be created in the construction phase and 1,000 fulltime jobs after it is completed.

Welcoming An Bord Pleanala's decision to grant planning permission, the Project Manager of Regeneration Developments Limited, Pat Keogh, says they can now enter into talks with potential retailers.

MAYOR CALLS FOR WORK ON LIMERICK OPERA CENTRE TO BEGIN QUICKLY (live95fm)

The Mayor of Limerick is urging the developers behind Limerick's €350 million Opera Centre to start work on the project as soon as possible.

An Bord Pleanala have granted planning permission for the much anticipated retail centre which is expected to draw shoppers back into the city.

The development will also provide a jobs boost for the city with around 500 people expected to be employed during the construction phase and a further 1,000 jobs will be created on it's completion.

Regeneration Developments Limited say they will be reviewing a number of conditions attached to the planning permission and are not at this stage ready to provide a date for the beginning of construction which will take about 3 years to complete.

Mayor of Limerick Councillor Kevin Kiely says the Opera Centre - which will be the largest retail centre in the Mid West - is crucial for the future of the city.

Mayor Kiely says the issue of a Opera Centre has been ongoing for three years and the awarding of planning permission is great news for Limerick.
User avatar
CologneMike
Old Master
 
Posts: 1146
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:24 pm

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:59 pm

So we finally have a decision.

I've only had a quick scan through it but its interesting to note that a decision was made on the original (hideous) application on the 4th of February and the inspector recommended a refusal.

If the case was decided, why wasn't this made public at the time? Did the Bord go back to the applicants and request revised plans or did the applicants themselves decide to submit the new proposals? Whatever happened, these revisions were submitted on May 1st and were subsequently signed off on July 17th.

Have ABP gone about their business in a rather strange manner here or are they perfectly within their rights?
Tuborg
Senior Member
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:07 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby gunter » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:38 pm

Tuborg wrote:
Have ABP gone about their business in a rather strange manner here or are they perfectly within their rights?


Those are murky waters to be casting a fishing hook into Tuborg!

Probably better just to thank Christ somebody sorted this all out. The (17) conditions look pretty comprehensive to me, . . . . of course it does all hinge on what exactly was submitted on 1 May.


[INDENT]CONDITIONS

1. The development shall be carried out in accordance with the plans and
particulars lodged with the application, as amended by the revised plans and
particulars (including in relation to conservation of existing historic
buildings) received by An Bord Pleanála on the 1st May 2009, except as may
otherwise be required in order to comply with the following conditions.
Reason: To conserve the architectural heritage of the area and in the interest
of clarity.

2. The architectural treatment at the junction of Glover’s Lane with Patrick
Street shall be as indicated in the design shown on Douglas Wallace sketch
drawing “Option 1” received by An Bord Pleanála on the 1st May 2009.
Board Direction
Reason: To reflect the historic street pattern of the area
.[/INDENT]

The wording of that condition no. 2 would seem to imply that the applicants submitted several versions of some aspects of the development adopting a ''take your pick'' approach. Maybe it could be said that such an approach is lacking in design conviction, but hell, if it works, as it seems to have done here, I don't know I think I'd be inclined to overlook that :)
gunter
Old Master
 
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Dublin

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby CologneMike » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:03 pm

In the same Order on page 1 the “PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT“ is described in detail and somewhere on page 2 after a semi-colon it thankfully switches away from demolition to more favourable reading.

However I will take the following as binding.

all associated site development works and provision of services, as amended by the revised public notice received by An Bord Pleanála on the 10th day of June, 2009 as follows:

- 4 and 5 Rutland Street will be conserved and repaired and presented as an integrated single shop entity trading onto Rutland Street, independent of the proposed Shopping Centre; Numbers 8 and 9 Rutland Street will be conserved and repaired and ground floor plans have been revised to reflect the existing shop fronts, with two main doorways;

the front facades of number 1, 2 and 3 Patrick Street are to be conserved and repaired and the ground floor layout has been revised to reflect the existing shopfronts trading onto Patrick Street; number 5 Patrick Street will be retained as an integral unit, which is to be conserved and repaired, with consequential adjustments to the main entrance to the Mall on the junction of Patrick Street and Ellen Street;

the front facades of numbers 4, 5 and 6 Ellen Street shall be conserved and repaired and integrated into the new build at ground floor level, so as to have an active streetfront trading as one unit; numbers 7 and 8 Ellen Street will be conserved and repaired and accessed off the street and redeveloped as an integrated single shop unit trading to Ellen Street at Ground floor level with the potential to allow these units to also trade onto the internal mall at ground floor; number 9 Ellen Street will be conserved and repaired and used as a pub restaurant on 3 levels accessed from Ellen Street with revisions proposed to the rear part within the building, with the existing footprint and main rear gable wall retained and the original construction features displayed within the building, which will be used for retail purposes. Basements that exist under the rear part of the building will be removed and the building will be underpinned during construction to accommodate the provision of car parking below; Ellen Street will remain unchanged in overall dimensions and will be retained in its existing configuration relating to building line. The footpath on the north side will be widened (circa 4 metres) with the carriageway reduced to 6 metres leaving an unaltered footpath on the southern side.

The building line will be set back at the location of Glover’s Lane with access to a department store and signage acknowledging the previous existence of the laneway.

Access for service vehicles will be relocated to a point on Michael Street to the south of the Granary building, with a combined car and truck access with traffic segregated after entry.

The public realm at Bank Place has been redesigned to take account of the relocation of the service access to Michael Street. On Bank Place, the façade of the proposed new building, has been redesigned and articulated to distinguish between the fronts of the new and existing buildings to each side (i.e. the Granary and Abbey House).

The proposed development has been redesigned to significantly increase the visual separation along the full length of the western façade of the Granary with glazed ventilated roof over the void including provision for a high level bridge link from the centre to the Granary.
User avatar
CologneMike
Old Master
 
Posts: 1146
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:24 pm

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:38 pm

gunter wrote:Those are murky waters to be casting a fishing hook into Tuborg!

Probably better just to thank Christ somebody sorted this all out. The (17) conditions look pretty comprehensive to me, . . . . of course it does all hinge on what exactly was submitted on 1 May.


Yeah I'd probably be opening up a serious can of worms there alright. If anything, the mystery surrounding the final decision perfectly encapsulates the uncertainly that has plagued this project since 2005. Its probably a fitting finale really!

Realistically we've got as acceptable an outcome as we could have hoped for and Im certainly glad that a decision has finally been made!

[INDENT]CONDITIONS

2. The architectural treatment at the junction of Glover’s Lane with Patrick
Street shall be as indicated in the design shown on Douglas Wallace sketch
drawing “Option 1” received by An Bord Pleanála on the 1st May 2009.
Board Direction
Reason: To reflect the historic street pattern of the area
.[/INDENT]

The wording of that condition no. 2 would seem to imply that the applicants submitted several versions of some aspects of the development adopting a ''take your pick'' approach. Maybe it could be said that such an approach is lacking in design conviction, but hell, if it works, as it seems to have done here, I don't know I think I'd be inclined to overlook that :)


I wonder what "Option 1" for Glover's Lane is? This is the laneway that separates Rutland Street and Patrick Street. The initial glazed infill solution was pretty dismal, I presume we'll now see a setback of any new building here?
Tuborg
Senior Member
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:07 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:48 pm

Tuborg wrote:I wonder what "Option 1" for Glover's Lane is? This is the laneway that separates Rutland Street and Patrick Street. The initial glazed infill solution was pretty dismal, I presume we'll now see a setback of any new building here?


CologneMike wrote:The building line will be set back at the location of Glover’s Lane with access to a department store and signage acknowledging the previous existence of the laneway.


Fair enough!:)
Tuborg
Senior Member
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:07 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:54 pm


Double blow for Limerick retail projects (Limerick Leader)

By Petula Martyn

MARKS and Spencer will not be the anchor tenant at the Opera Centre after dropping plans to open a store at the city-centre development, according to weekend media reports.
And Limerick has been dealt a further blow with confirmation that construction work on the Parkway Valley project on Dublin Road will not recommence until 2011 at the earliest.

Marks & Spencer had been in discussions to acquire one anchor store in Limerick after the British chain was refused planning at the Crescent Shopping Centre which was their preferred location.

The €350 million Opera Centre is owned by developers Jerry O'Reilly, David Courtney and Terry Sweeney, and Anglo Irish Bank has a 50 per cent share in the development. The developers behind the Opera Centre had been seeking to sign 40 retailers to the retail centre over the next two years, and it was hoped that Marks & Spencer, as an anchor tenant, would have been a big draw for other retailers.

The shopping centre on Patrick Street was granted planning permission for a second occasion by An Bord Pleanala in July.

It is not known if the decision by Marks & Spencer to withdraw their interest in the Opera Centre will affect the opening of the shopping centre which is expected to be built by 2012/13.



This story was first carried in yesterday's Sunday Tribune. I don't know how reliable these "retail sources" are but if true it would be a pretty odd decision given that the opera centre would seem to be tailor made for Marks & Spencer.

I know that the Crescent shopping centre had to offer fairly generous concessions to get M&S to commit to the planned store there. Maybe those behind the Opera Centre need to sweet talk Marks & Spencer a bit more!

The failure to secure a big name anchor would obviously raise further doubts over the future of this project!
Tuborg
Senior Member
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:07 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby CologneMike » Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:05 pm

Anglo trio resign from Limerick shopping centre firm (Sunday Business Post)

04 October 2009 By Richard Curran

Three Anglo Irish Bank representatives have resigned as directors of a company behind a proposed €350 million shopping centre development in the centre of Limerick city.

Gerard Davis, Peter Butler and Brendan Farrell stepped down as directors of Regeneration Developments, the company behind the proposed Opera Centre project.

Anglo Irish Bank acquired a 50 per cent stake in the venture in December 2007 for an undisclosed sum. The nationalised bank is not the banker to the project.

The arrival of Anglo Irish as a shareholder came shortly after Dublin-based developers Joe O’Reilly, Terry Sweeney and David Courtney took over the other 50 per cent stake. All three are directors of Regeneration Developments.

Last month, the three Anglo directors resigned despite the bank still retaining a 50 per cent interest in the stalled venture, leaving it with no representation on the board.

Accounts filed for the company show that, at the end of 2007, loans to the firm from shareholders totalled €25 million.

These do not appear to have come from Courtney, Sweeney and O’Reilly, because they are directors and there were no outstanding directors’ loans. The €25 million lent to the company in 2007 was on an unsecured, interest-free basis.

It was due to be repaid last year. Anglo Irish Bank declined to comment.

A source close to the bank confirmed that, despite the resignations, the bank still owned a 50 per cent stake and said it was deciding whether it needed to have directors on the board. The bank declined to confirm whether all of the €25 million lent to Regeneration Development had, in fact, come from Anglo on an interest free, unsecured basis.


Is this good news or bad? :confused:
User avatar
CologneMike
Old Master
 
Posts: 1146
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:24 pm

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby PoxyShamrock » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:38 pm

Let's face it.
The Opera Centre will never happen.
PoxyShamrock
Member
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 2:10 am
Location: Limerick City

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby dave123 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:29 am

Yes it can happen.


Lets face reality.

Lets face it.


Lets face that I said it.


What are you going to do about it.
dave123
Senior Member
 
Posts: 511
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:54 am
Location: Co. Dublin

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby KeepAnEyeOnBob » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:06 am

Patrick and Rutland Street shouldn't be sitting idle and rotting while we wait for this marvellous new Arthur's Quay that will magically rejuvenate the city centre.
KeepAnEyeOnBob
Member
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:11 pm
Location: Limerick

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:07 pm

Im not suggesting for a second that the Opera Centre is the magical solution to all the city centres ills but it's certainly a big part of the solution. Firstly we need to provide large scale, modern retail space to attract the big name retailers not currently represented in Limerick, into the heart of the city. If we do this, it's logical to suggest that increased numbers of shopper's will follow!

It's by no means a perfect development but the current proposal is infinitely better than what went before!

Of course the big question now is, when, if ever will construction get underway?
Tuborg
Senior Member
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:07 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:03 am

Hollowed out by the 'doughnut' effect (Irish Times)

Image

LIMERICK IS a doughnut, according to the city centre’s retailers, and they don’t mean it as a compliment. With a fat ring of suburban shopping malls swallowing up available spenders into their inviting car parks, there’s a traffic-ensnared retail void right at the place where most cities tend to keep their busiest hubs of commercial activity: the centre.

Now a major plan to resuscitate the city’s retail heart has been derailed by the banking crisis. The 410,000sq ft Opera Centre, a €350 million project in which Anglo Irish Bank had a 50 per cent stake, has stalled indefinitely, the undeveloped site a bleak reminder of the ambition of the boom years.

For many city shopkeepers, however, lacklustre footfall along Limerick’s main arteries is a problem that originates decades ago, predating both Anglo’s hubris and Dell’s devastating redundancies.

“Really, the city council neglected the city and took its eye off the ball for 20 years,” says David O’Mahony, the chairman of O’Mahony’s bookshop, which trades over several well-stocked storeys on O’Connell St.

“It’s insane that the situation has been allowed to exist for so long,” he sighs.

The “situation” is that three separate councils have jurisdiction over the area that essentially makes up the city: Limerick City Council, Limerick County Council and Clare County Council.

The result of this administrative mishmash is that a string of shopping centres received permission to be built beyond the city’s patch, leaving those that were left in the centre floundering. “Like baubles on a necklace,” is how one person describes Limerick’s retail pattern – a more flattering description than a doughnut, perhaps, but no less dismaying for the city vendors fighting to attract a finite number of customers.

“No one in the city centre was unduly upset that the Parkway was shelved or the Crescent was refused its extension,” says O’Mahony.

The unfinished Parkway was a Liam Carroll speciality that started building before it had nailed down an anchor store. The brand-packed Crescent, located just past the city boundary in Dooradoyle, is already the biggest shopping centre outside the greater Dublin area, with Zara, Tommy Hilfiger, Next, HM, River Island, Monsoon and HMV all under its highly convenient roof. The Crescent was this year refused permission to expand again after the city council told a Bord Pleanála hearing that enough was enough: the city cannot be sacrificed to the suburbs.

“Most large urban centres would want to see the core supported first before you build around it,” says Tom Mackey, city manager of Limerick, matter-of-factly.

An application seeking the extension of the city council’s remit is sitting on the in-tray of Minister for the Environment John Gormley. “It would unite the city as one entity,” says Mackey.

In the meantime, Mackey is trying to unsnarl Limerick’s streets of its HGVs: the completion of an orbital route and building of a tunnel will allow for the pedestrianisation of O’Connell Street and the widening of the William Street footpaths, following an attractive pedestrianisation of Thomas Street and Bedford Row.

“To some extent, we’re very dependent on Government funding,” Mackey says ominously.

“Naturally, recession does slow things down.”

And the Opera Centre? “It’s hard to predict when it will be built,” he says.

For Oliver Moloney, founder of the Instore chain of furniture and giftware stores, the shame was that several businesses near his own Ellen Street store closed down to make way for the Opera.

“There was a bicycle shop, a butchers, a bar/restaurant,” he says, listing them.

“They created traffic for us. The pity was that it got that far and they sold their leases. But nobody knew what was coming, except for maybe David McWilliams. From the city council perspective, they’ve lost a lot of rate income.”

Like all analogies, the “doughnut” shape of Limerick is not a perfect fit. Apart from department stores Brown Thomas and Debenhams and a splattering of international fashion brands, the city centre also has something that tends not to be replicated in most standard-fit, inward-facing, privately developed shopping centres: independents.

“There are lots of brilliant independent traders on Roches Street,” notes former TV3 news reporter Laura Ryan, who, as Limerick City co-ordination officer, now has the job of promoting her native city.

“Tonight I’m going shopping with a girlfriend and we’re going to go for a glass of wine after. I’m not going to do that in a shopping centre,” she says.

Still, the Opera Centre would be a plus, Ryan thinks, especially if it managed to secure Marks Spencer, which is currently not in Limerick, but has toyed with several possible locations, including the rejected Crescent extension.

“I lived in Dublin for nine years and I have withdrawal symptoms from MS. Definitely, they would do so well in Limerick,” she says.

The weekend before last, Ryan helped organise Winterfest, a co-ordinated effort by Limerick’s retailers to entice people to shop. But although the event – which included a Georgian Quarter market, a range of discounts and a free-parking initiative – was a success, the Winterfest weather was too wintry for some.

The bad luck was encapsulated by the fate of the city council’s “green tree”. Plans to place the 100ft recycled-steel tree in the river were undone when the swelling waters allowed it to break free of its momorings and crash into Shannon Bridge. “It was always going to end up in the river,” says Ryan wryly.

Back in O’Mahony’s bookshop, there’s a display of “where did it all go wrong” economic books, while David McWilliams is due to pop in a couple of nights later to sign copies of his latest work.

O’Mahony, who sells academic as well as consumer titles, is enduring the “complete ripple effect” from Dell. “There’s been a massive drop in the resources of students and the resources of their parents as well,” he says.

O’Mahony has another hat – he is chairman of the Limerick Market Trustees, a historic body charged since the mid-19th century with operating or licensing any market that takes place in Limerick city “or one mile beyond”. But this involved “a significant amount of time spent running car parks”, he says. So the trustees began what’s now costed as a €2 million project to transform the Limerick Milk Market from a Saturday morning market to a six-day operation, with a weatherproof umbrella structure and five permanent units.

Earlier this month, with tenders awarded at recession-tastic competitive prices, the diggers finally moved into the cut-stone courtyard, not far from both Moloney’s Ellen Street store and the site of the Opera Centre.

“The Milk Market could be an events venue, it could be an outside broadcast area, it could be a cinema,” says O’Mahony, who hopes it will improve the city’s footfall when it opens in mid-2010.

“Limerick needs attractions, it needs places to visit. It has the river, it has the Hunt Museum, it has the retail diversity. But if you’re going into Limerick city centre, where are you going?”

The “community dimension” to the Milk Market will provide new opportunities for the local micro-enterprises that are expected to spring up in the wake of the closure of Dell’s manufacturing plant, O’Mahony adds. The city needs this more than any major retail scheme, he believes.

“With shopping centres, all you’re doing is replicating a theoretically English model and that is not what will help Limerick.”
Tuborg
Senior Member
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:07 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:06 am

How the State became de facto shopping centre owners (Irish Times)

ANGLO IRISH BANK’S stake in the Opera Centre means that its future is now entwined with that of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

Interests held by the nationalised bank in completed, half-finished and mooted retail projects will be part of the €77 billion in property, land and development loans being transferred to Nama.

Any retail schemes that were financed by AIB and Bank of Ireland in recent years could also end up in the Nama pot – but there are no official statistics on the value of retail-related debt that will now be dealing with a State agency as its lender.

Uncompleted schemes such as the €350 million Opera Centre – the other 50 per cent of which is owned by developers Jerry O’Reilly, Terry Sweeney and David Courtney – are part of the €46 billion of Nama loans that don’t currently produce any income from tenants.

Some of these projects will not proceed as they no longer make commercial sense. Some “may be viable of alternative uses or alternative project timescales are considered”, the Nama business plan states. But it is likely that Nama will try to maximise its regular cash income, which could mean borrowing more to complete unfinished shopping malls.

Any decision on schemes such as the Opera Centre will have to be taken in the context of a more downcast consumer economy.

Tom Mackey, Limerick’s city manager, is adamant that the Opera Centre will eventually “bring significant retail-led regeneration to Limerick’s city centre”, as the original brochure claimed, and that it won’t be one of those “sounded like a good idea at the time” schemes that never happens.

“That will happen in smaller commuter towns, but Limerick is the third city in the country. It is inevitable that if you have a major retail space, it will be developed,” says Mackey.
Tuborg
Senior Member
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:07 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby tretle » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:53 am

I heard from a retailer right next to the proposed development that they are need about 20 million before the thing can go ahead.
tretle
Member
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:30 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:18 pm

tretle wrote:I heard from a retailer right next to the proposed development that they are need about 20 million before the thing can go ahead.


Id say that's a bit on the conservative side tretle. Over the last 18 months or so there was absolutely no indication whatsoever that Regeneration Developments had access to the kind of finance that was needed to fund this project.

Now that the Opera Centre has gone to the incomprehensible mess they call NAMA, it really is anyone's guess as to when we'll see any action! Although many of the building's on site will probably be close to structural failure at that stage! :mad:
Tuborg
Senior Member
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:07 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:42 pm

Just to tie up another loose end which I thought had been sorted long ago but apparently not.

This was an appeal by the owners of the Trinity Rooms nightclub against the compulsory aquisition of a portion of ground on Bank Place to facilitate the development of the Opera Centre.

The inspector actually recommended that the CPO should not go ahead but this was overturned by the ABP board!

Bank Place Area CPO 2008

Decision: Confirm CPO without modifications

Date Signed: 27/11/2009

Reasons and Considerations

Having considered the objections made to the Compulsory Purchase Order and the report of the person who conducted the oral hearing into the objections and having regard to the purposes of the acquisition as set out in the Order, the need to promote the urban regeneration of Bank Place and contiguous areas of the city in accordance with the policies in the Limerick City Development Plan and the relevant Integrated Area Plan, it is considered that the acquisition of the land in question is necessary for the said purposes and that the objections cannot be sustained against the said necessity.

In deciding not to accept the Inspector’s recommendation not to confirm the Compulsory Purchase Order, the Board accepted the case made by the local authority that unencumbered possession of the piece of land on Bank Place, which is part of the public domain of Limerick City Centre, is a reasonable exercise by a local authority of their powers under the Planning and Development Act in order to achieve a comprehensive redevelopment of an area in need of regeneration for the public good, including the upgrading of the public domain.

Tuborg
Senior Member
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:07 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby CologneMike » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:18 pm

'Funding not in place' to complete Limerick's Opera Centre development (Limerick Leader) :mad:

FEARS that the much-awaited Opera Centre development in Limerick may not materialise have been heightened after the company auditors confirmed that "no funding is currently in place to complete the project".

While the directors of the company believe financial support for the project will be maintained, the auditors BDO said "there is no certainty that this will be the case".

The company behind the €350m shopping centre - Regeneration Developments Ltd - owed creditors €117.5m by the end of 2008, according to the latest accounts submitted to the Companies Registration Office, which were signed off this January 18.

Some €112m has now been spent on the unbuilt site, which was been in the pipeline for four years, with €86m owed in bank loans. Interest on bank loans rose to €3.6m in 2008, from €1.7m in 2007.

Shareholders loans - which are unsecure - came to €30.7m, while bank borrowings were secured with a guarantee for €50m from three of the directors.

The company, Regeneration Developments, had a loss before taxation of €3.1m that year, nearly double their loss in 2007.

However, their operating profit increased from €15,582 to €205,011, and net assets increased from €1.7m to j4.9m by the year end.

In their report, the auditors raised concerns as to whether "continued funding for day-to-day operations can be maintained" and whether the "directors will be successful in obtaining the necessary financing to develop the sites, should the company decide to do so."

Given these uncertainties, the auditors said they were unable to determine whether or not an extraordinary general meeting should be called.

"The directors are confident that normal operational expenditure can be met from ongoing income. However, interest is being rolled up on bank loans used to purchase the various properties.

"The directors believe this ongoing support will continue, but there is no certainty that this will be the case," they stated.
User avatar
CologneMike
Old Master
 
Posts: 1146
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:24 pm

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:51 pm

Hardly a surprise really is it?

Essentially the gist of this is that the development company may be able to secure the necessary funding but then again it probably won't! :(

I must say I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for Regeneration Developments. Their stewardship of the project has been qestionable to say the least. This shambolic mess could easily have been avoided had it not been for a series of poor decisions in the design and planning stages! :rolleyes:
Tuborg
Senior Member
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:07 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Tuborg » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:38 pm

Staying with the issue of city centre decline. Here is the current state of play on Patrick Street/Rutland Street. Captured in black & white for added misery! ;)

Photos thanks to Stan the man


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Tuborg
Senior Member
 
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:07 am

Re: The Opera Centre

Postby Dan Sullivan » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:56 pm

I've heard talk, vague to say the least, about redeveloping Arthur's Quay and integrating this development with the Opera Centre site. If Mr. Tiernan hasn't, unlike the other players around town, over extended himself he could develop the Opera centre and move his existing tenants into it and then re-do Arthur's Quay as prime city centre office space.

I wonder to what degree we could end up with more land/site swaps happening around the city. I think the Parkway for example could take the half completed Liam Carroll site out the Dublin road and level the existing Parkway complex and revamp it as office/residential making much better use of the site with an integrated train station (wishful thinking) and bus link to the Plassey campus.
Dan Sullivan
 

PreviousNext

Return to Ireland