Re: Re: The Opera Centre
Some quite puzzling quotes attributed to the “economic director” of the forthcoming combined Limerick local authority in the press recently.
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.
• 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.