Breathing life into the heart of Limerick
Limerick, Ireland’s third largest city, is implementing an urban development scheme to bring back business and people to its centre. An €85 million CEB loan to Limerick City and County Council will finance much of this transformation.
This ambitious urban regeneration project is being co-financed by the CEB and the European Investment Bank, and aims to contribute to the sustainable development of the city while strengthening social cohesion and boosting job creation. The loan will contribute to Limerick’s social development strategy ‘Limerick 2030’, which aims to develop key strategic sites in Limerick city and county to position the region among the top European destinations to invest, work and live in.
Preserving a unique heritage
CEB funds, which are being provided in the form of a cross-sectoral loan (CSL), will be used to develop one of four key locations, the Opera site, which will provide 50,000 m2 of modern office space (enough for 3,000 workers) as well as cultural facilities, retail space and a new public square. The restoration and reuse of historical buildings on the site, north of Limerick’s commercial centre, will help to preserve the city’s unique Georgian architectural heritage.
Driving innovation and growth
The loan agreement was officially signed on 17th January by CEB Governor, Rolf Wenzel and by Conn Murray, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County. Speaking at the signing, Governor Wenzel said, “The project we are financing is expected to have substantial benefits for Limerick and its people. It will attract new industries and employers and create many new jobs in one of Ireland’s largest cities and main drivers of innovation and economic growth. The CEB strongly believes in supporting local communities in line with its social mandate and is ready to finance other similar projects here and in other parts of the country.”
More than €500 million has been approved in loans to Ireland over the last couple of years. This includes financing a €150 million facility for the Housing Finance Agency to enable local authorities throughout Ireland to retrofit existing social housing units and to construct new, energy-efficient social housing.
“We, at the CEB are convinced that the Opera site, just like Limerick itself, has enormous transformational potential, and are pleased to be part of this important undertaking,” Governor Wenzel
Cross-sectoral loans: a flexible form of finance
• The CSL is the most recent financial instrument developed by the CEB.
• It offers greater flexibility to public authorities to finance social infrastructure in overlapping sectors.
• Flexibility is helpful for smaller municipalities and is a good match for urban renewal projects that include many interdependent components.
• In 2017, the CEB approved €154 million in cross-sectoral loans to cities and regions.