EIB vice president Andrew McDowell travelled to Limerick for the announcement, which will see the bank commit to €85m in lending to Limerick City & County Council. The money will be spent on transforming the 1.62ha Opera site in the city centre into a commercial and office development, with the capacity for 3,000 jobs.
This is the first EIB finance is to be made available for a local authority programme in Ireland since 1993. The EIB finance contract for the 25 year loan is the EIB’s largest ever urban investment in Ireland.
McDowell said: “The European Investment Bank is pleased to support this impressive and ambitious investment that with transform the city of Limerick over the coming years. This will create thousands of new jobs, renovate vacant buildings to provide much needed office space and regenerate historic buildings in Ireland’s third city, as well as reducing energy bills for public buildings.”
He added that the bank expects to announce cooperation with further local authorities in the coming months.
The Opera site will be the largest single project in the Limerick Twenty Thirty programme, which was launched last year with the aim of delivering over €500m-worth of transformational infrastructure across key strategic sites in Limerick. The programme is already progressing at pace, with the 80,000 sq ft LEED Gold ‘Gardens International’’ office accommodation project in the heart of the city set for completion late next year.