Limerick’s ambition to attract Hollywood stars has moved one step closer with confirmation of plans for an international film studio.
Limerick City and County Council confirmed the €6 million purchase of the old Dell building in Castletroy, a 32,516sq m (350,000sq ft) facility it hopes to develop into a major film and television production studio in tandem with Ardmore Studios.
Confirmation of the sale came just weeks after legendary Hollywood producer Philip Lee visited Limerick to scout it out as a possible location for a $120 million movie due to be filmed next year. Inversion is a science-fiction film in which life on Earth is threatened by a gradual loss of gravity. The movie is to be directed by Scott Waugh whose last film, Need for Speed, grossed more than $200 million since its release last year.
It’s understood the visit by four Hollywood movie producers to Limerick in recent weeks added an urgency to the sale of the former industrial building on Plassey Park Road, about 10 hectares in size with three hectares of development land available and 750 car spaces.
A former Dell manufacturing facility, it was visited by thousands as the Culture Factory venue for Limerick City of Culture 2014.
The local authority remains in discussions with Ardmore Studios for the provision of much needed studio infrastructure for the midwest.Limerick City and County Council chief executive Conn Murray said the purchase is "an important step in the local authority's plan to create an international film centre and major sustainable employment in Limerick".
“Our discussions with Ardmore Studios are continuing at pace since we first announced that we were working together late last year,” Mr Murray said.
“We’re delighted that, subject to finalising details, we have agreed terms on the purchase of the former Dell building in Plassey. The purchase of this building is the first step in our strategy to create major studio facilities in Limerick. The next part of the process is to finalise our discussions with Ardmore Studios. ”
Mr Murray said he is hopeful the purchase of the building will lead to major sustainable employment and the creation of a film industry in Limerick.
“There is a clear and urgent demand for large-scale studio space and support buildings in Ireland, and many of the preconditions necessary for the creation of studios already exist in Limerick,” he said.
“It is evident that success is based on Government support, direct investment and commitment given to the vision of those involved. We hope that this is just the start of a project which will create a new industry and a huge number of jobs locally. It’s also a logical legacy of Limerick’s year as National City of Culture 2014 and its bid to become European Capital of Culture for 2020.”