The Irish city of Limerick has received a welcome boost as it has been revealed as a potential rival to Hollywood with plans to build an international film studio.
Innovate Limerick, which is owned by the council, is looking to buy a 340,000sq ft building at Plassey Technological Park near the university, which it will then lease to a film company, according to the Irish Examiner newspaper.
Irish Examiner report Innovate Limerick are in talks with Co Wicklow based Ardmore Studios, who are looking to expand their studio space.
Ardmore is responsible for classic movies and TV shows such as Braveheart, My Left Foot, The Commitments, Angela’s Ashes and The Tudors.
Ardmore have recently been struggling to cope with their limited space and would be interested in moving to Limerick, where the proposed site will be twice as large as their current location in Bray.
However, Ardmore director Ossie Kilkenny refused to comment on the matter yesterday.
A ‘film industry source’ is quoted as saying: “The Irish film industry is crying out for additional studio space. This building in Limerick because of its size and its roof height is ready for conversion into film studios. To start trying to develop a studio building from scratch would take years. That is why this building near the University of Limerick is so attractive. Other benefits are its location near Shannon and on the N7 motorway network.”
Meanwhile, a Limerick City and County Council source said: “Things are delicately poised and Innovate Limerick is anxious to close a deal to purchase the building and enter talks with Ardmore about a long-term lease with an option to buy down the road.”
There are whispers that a major US film company is looking to film a production in Ireland early next year, and that Limerick may be in the running to provide the studio.
The council source added: “Innovate Limerick have been made aware of this production and this has added urgency to complete the purchase so that necessary internal renovations can be carried out. Apparently the site is ideal to meet the needs of this US film company and they are especially keen on its location due to its Shannon connectivity.”
If the plans come to fruition it is predicted to create 750 jobs and could be the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the famous ‘Treaty City’.