Hollowed out by the ‘doughnut’ effect

LIMERICK is a doughnut, according to the city centre’s retailers, and they don’t mean it as a compliment. With a fat ring of suburban shopping malls swallowing up available spenders into their inviting car parks, there’s a traffic-ensnared retail void right at the place where most cities tend to keep their busiest hubs of commercial activity: the centre.
Now a major plan to resuscitate the city’s retail heart has been derailed by the banking crisis. The 410,000sq ft Opera Centre, a €350 million project in which Anglo Irish Bank had a 50 per cent stake, has stalled indefinitely, the undeveloped site a bleak reminder of the ambition of the boom years.

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