A new plan rises on the horizon for problem Limerick site

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An artist's impression of the proposed Horizon Mall site.

A NEW €90 million development at the controversial Horizon Mall site on the Dublin Road that will include a 300-bedroom hotel, a budget hotel, apartments housing 190 residents, offices and a filling station has been welcomed by local councillors this week.

Hundreds of jobs will be created as a result of the ambitious plan at the long derelict site. New owners, Singapore-based Novelty ICAV, now propose a start date of early 2020 for the project.

Local representatives who have dealt with numerous issues including antisocial behaviour at the derelict site over the past decade have welcomed the plans.

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Solidarity councillor Paul Keller told the Limerick Post this week that his first motion on the newly amalgamated Limerick City and County Council four years ago was about the Horizon Mall. He described last week’s invitation to the Castletroy Hotel to hear a presentation and view the new plans as good news.

“This is a positive step forward. It was out of the blue, unexpected, but very welcome,” the City East representative commented.

“For years this site has been an eyesore, an embarrassment, and a source of antisocial behaviour for local residents. This futuristic plan, which will cost in the region of €90 million, will provide around 150 permanent jobs between the two hotels, the offices and the proposed filling station.

“It will also create hundreds of jobs during its construction, hopefully employment for local tradesmen. It be an ongoing project, which could last five to ten years, according to the developer. This project will set the tone and standards for any future projects being considered for Limerick,” he added.

Fine Gael councillor Elenora Hogan said she sees the development as welcome for Limerick as it will, in the first place, tackle the dereliction on this site, which has been “a blight on the Limerick landscape for far too long”.

“There will be over 100 jobs created in the proposed hotel, industrial, office and filling station elements and there will also be apartments and houses built – all of which is very welcome for Limerick,” she added.

Fianna Fail councillor Jerry O’Dea believes the balanced mix of housing units, office space, hotel accommodation and light industrial units, rather than a monstrous retail mall, will help create a quality environment that will only enhance the offering of “our fine city”.

“Details of these ambitious plans for a disastrous site, which I have long campaigned to have progressed, are very welcome,” he said.

Labour councillor Elena Secas also welcomed the newly revealed plans for the Parkway Valley site, especially the proposal for a mixed-use development.

“I think this is what the area needs to ensure a quality and sustainable development of this site. The survey I carried out in 2016 on the future of the site showed a strong demand for a mixed-use development, so it is very important that the new developer, Novelty Icav, makes the right investment in this site, which will benefit not only our area, but also Limerick City as a whole,” Cllr Secas explained.

Former Mayor Kieran O’Hanlon gave the multi-million euro plan a more guarded welcome.

“I would welcome the development of the Horizon Mall provided it does not have a negative impact on the city centre,” he told the Limerick Post.

“The site at present is an eyesore and gives a very bad impression of Limerick as you enter the city. Security also needs to be improved, as there is large scale antisocial behaviour in the area.

“Councillors will have to give this plan serious consideration and, if necessary, take a decision to rezone part of the land in order to allow the development to proceed. I would also like to see the developer holding a public meeting to allow the local residents have an input into the final plan.”

When asked for comment on the development plan, a spokesman for the local authority said: “Limerick City and County Council doesn’t comment on any applications that will be submitted to the planning department for adjudication.”

There was no response from Novelty Icav at the time of going to print about details of their ambitious plans for the Dublin Road site.

by Alan Jacques

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