Twenty Thirty strategy driving ‘vibrancy’ in city centre property market

A €500m commercial property development programme will accommodate 550,000 square feet of office, cultural and retail space on Patrick Street

David Conway, chief executive of Limerick Twenty Thirty. Picture: Arthur Ellis

Since its launch five years ago, the Limerick Twenty Thirty strategy has already had a discernible impact on the property market in the city centre, according to Patrick Seymour, head of agency at the Limerick office of Power Property.

The €500 million commercial property development programme is creating “a real vibrancy” about property in the city centre, with the enabling works for the Opera Site now under way, according to Seymour. “It will create a business and cultural hub on a 3.7-acre site in the heart of Limerick city centre,” he said.

When complete, the landmark Opera Site development on Patrick Street will have capacity to accommodate 550,000 square feet of office, cultural and retail space.

Another landmark development site for the city is Cleeves Riverside Quarter, which will be situated on the Northern bank of the River Shannon on a 10-acre site formerly occupied by Cleeve’s Confectionery up to the mid-1970s.

“This landmark riverside site, overlooking the Shannon, is at master planning stage by Limerick 2030 DAC. It has huge potential to create a riverside quarter and a landmark mixed-use development for Limerick city and the midwest region,” Seymour said.

Limerick Docklands Master Plan, published by the Shannon Foynes Port Company, envisages the regeneration of the city’s docklands as a multi-use development. “One of the key elements of the Docklands Business Park will be the proposed conversion of the former Bannatyne Mills building into modern office space,” Seymour said.

When complete, the Bannatyne Mill development will deliver 3,277 square metres in new office accommodation.

With the reopening of the country now under way, following the most recent Covid lockdown, activity in the commercial property market in Limerick is picking up, according to Seymour.

“The outlook right now is positive. There has been a significant increase in activity in the Limerick market over the last three months and it is expected a number of transactions that were put on hold should be completed in the six months ahead,” he said.

Rents for Grade A LEED Gold office accommodation in Limerick city centre currently average €30 per square foot per annum, according to Seymour.

“In the suburbs, the price varies from €22 to €26 per square foot per annum, and office demand in the Raheen and Dooradoyle area remains strong,” he said.

Power Property is currently marketing Citygate House in Raheen, a development by Brookvale Trust, in which VHI Swiftcare recently opened a clinic.

Office space in suburbs to the east of the city remains in demand, according to Seymour. “Fine Grain Property leased a floor at Hawthorn House to Kneat last year at Plassey Business Campus. Hawthorn House is the only LEED Gold office building available in the Limerick suburban office market at present,” he said.

While the retail market for secondary locations in the city centre remains challenging, a number of suburban transactions have been completed in recent months.

“The supply of large logistics facilities remains weak with demand exceeding supply. Typical rents for industrial and logistics space vary from €5 to €7.50 per square foot per annum.

“However, there is evidence in the market of rents in the region of €10 per square foot, where units are being purpose-built for end users,” Seymour said.