Biggest Property Programme Outside Dublin Under way As Contracts Signed

The most transformational and largest commercial property development programme outside the capital kicked off this week  as work began on the first Limerick Twenty Thirty contract.
The 100,000 sq.ft. Gardens International Office in Henry Street will be the first speculative build under the programme, which overall will see over €500m worth of investment in creating state-of-the-art office, retail, residential, education and enterprise space in Limerick.
‘The Gardens’ contract, which will be developed at a cost of €17.6million, is the first of three major projects that will transform inner city Limerick, creating 1.4million sq ft of prime real estate for various uses and turn the mid-west capital into a living and working city centre.
The wider programme is aimed at attracting 5,000 new jobs in Limerick over the next five years, with ‘The Gardens’ building set to accommodate 750 posts and support 150 jobs during construction. The project has a completion date of late 2018.
The contract for ‘The Gardens’ project was signed last week by JJ Rhatigan & Company builders and Limerick Twenty Thirty, which is the first special purpose vehicle of its kind in Ireland and was created by Limerick City and  County Council to purchase and build strategic but unused key sites in the city.
Speaking this week, Limerick Twenty Thirty chairman Denis Brosnan said: “This is a very impor-tant day for Limerick Twenty Thirty, for Lim-erick and the wider region. This will be the catalyst for a new era of growth for Limerick as this is the first in a wider programme that is going to transform Limerick into a dynamic living and working city capable of competing with the leading destinations in Europe for inward investment.”
The Henry Street site was partly constructed during the boom but has remained a shell since work ceased there several years ago.  The five-floor development will be suitable for a range of uses and will be Limerick’s first city centre LEED Gold certified office scheme. It has been designed to a high spec, with a modern office feel dovetailing and entirely complementing the aesthetics of an arch-itecturally significant building considered one of Limerick’s most unusual.  Developed in 1808 by the Roche family, the old limestone-faced building with stunning red-bricked internal barrel vaults was a revolutionary project for its day, having been des-igned with a sophisticated heating and irrigation system to support roof-top hanging/vertical gardens with vegetation such as exotic fruits like oranges, grapes and pineapples.
The new design comes complete with a structural glazed facade to provide a high level of environmental control within the office space, embracing solar gain and reducing imposed air-handling energy requirements. It also includes automated fully glazed entrance doors, natural stone flooring, a turnstile security system, car parking spaces, cycle bays and other services.