Buzz returns to city centre

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Boots to open at Childers Road Retail Park

LIFE is returning to Limerick’s ailing city centre, with upwards of 20 new business ventures having either opened, or about to open inside the next few weeks.

Maria Kelly, CEO Chamber of Commerce, told the Limerick Post that signs were very encouraging-”there has already been a good deal of movement and we are aware of some high profile retailers who are sniffing around seeking suitable properties.

“Our members are telling us there has been a definite pick up in trade”.

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It has emerged that Boots are to open a third Limerick outlet, this time at Childers Road Retail Park, taking over the premises once occupied by Land of Leather.

Tesco Express, meanwhile, have designs on a large corner site at the junction of Thomas Street/Catherine Street, but it is understood that plans have been delayed because of objections.

Initially, Michael O’Malley, the developer of the site, had, as was reported in the Limerick Post, entered into negotiations with a Dutch medical group for the entire building, but that fell through.

Pat Kearney of Rooney Auctioneers, said there was a reawakening of interest in the city.

“We have finalised an impressive number of transactions, principally around the Market area, Parnell Street, Henry Street, William Street, Thomas Street and O’Connell Street.

“A new retailer is also moving into Cruises Street.

“What we have noticed is that many who were made unemployed over the last few years are endeavouring to establish their own type of business rather than seeking employment from others”.

Some of the more high profile units that changed hands included Falks, Henry Street; Halls Butchers and Jump Juice, both in William Street.

A new restaurant has replaced the former Bruschetta in Mount Kennet.

Sean Geary’s multi million euro investment in the revamped former County Council offices in O’Connell Street, is now paying dividends, with the opening of Cafe Noir and Thomond Asset Management.

Now that the wheels have been set in motion in re-establishing the city as a focal point, Mr Kearney predicts that the trend will continue.

“We must get all those vacant units up and running again. It might take some time to revert back to the golden days of shopping in the city, but let us be optimistic”.

There is also a planning application before Limerick City Council for a new restaurant at No 8 Roches Street. The premises is owned by Michael Murphy, Eves, who now plans to divide it into two units.