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August 2020

Boost for the development of a 200 million euro “opera site” in Limerick

By Site development

A long-awaited 200 million euro development of part of Limerick city center, described as the ‘site of the opera’, will start in the fall and create 3,000 jobs which, it is hoped, ” will start ”the“ Covid-19 economic recovery ”of the city. .

The site was acquired by Limerick City Council in 2011 after the failure of a previous development plan during the economic crash of the mid-2000s, and was subsequently handed over to Limerick Twenty Thirty DAC – a development company established and owned by the board.

Building permit for the iconic project was granted by An Bord Pleanála in February this year following an oral hearing.

Today’s announcement of the appointment of Cogent Associates, who oversaw the Central Bank and Google’s EMEA headquarters project, as project managers for the Opera site, is seen as an important step in starting development.

Limerick 2030 chief executive David Conway said the development “will unleash the most important and timely economic stimulus of modern times in the city, and allow Limerick to launch the economic recovery from Covid-19.”

The 3.7-acre “mixed-use” development promises to be a historic commercial development “to reflect Limerick’s status as a premier destination for foreign investment.”

The project is fully funded primarily through loans from the European Investment Bank and the Council of the European Development Bank – the EIB’s largest ever support for urban investment in Ireland – and will be delivered over a period of six years in accordance with world-class standards. .

It is hoped that the massive development, which will include a new public square with pedestrian links to the city, will make Limerick an attractive location for businesses leaving the UK due to Brexit.

Once valued at over 100 million euros at the height of the boom, the Council bought the site for 12 million euros in 2011 following the economic crash.

Cogent Associates chief executive Kevin James said no other location in the country will have a project of Opera’s transformational potential starting there this year.

Development of Limerick’s 200 million euro ‘opera site’ to start in autumn

By Site development

A long-awaited 200 million euro development of part of Limerick city center, described as the ‘site of the opera’, will start in the fall and create 3,000 jobs, which it is hoped , Will “launch” the economic recovery of the city.

The site was acquired by Limerick City Council in 2011 after the failure of a previous development plan during the economic crash of the mid-2000s, and was subsequently handed over to Limerick Twenty Thirty DAC – a development company established and owned by the board.

Building permit for the project was granted by An Bord Pleanála in February this year following an oral hearing.

Today’s announcement of the appointment of Cogent Associates, who oversaw the Central Bank and Google’s EMEA headquarters project, as project managers for the Opera site, is seen as an important step in starting development.

Recovery

Limerick 2030 chief executive David Conway said the development “will unleash the most important and timely economic stimulus of modern times in the city, and allow Limerick to launch the economic recovery from Covid-19.”

The 3.7-acre “mixed-use” development is fully funded through loans primarily from the European Investment Bank and the European Development Bank’s Board – and is expected to be delivered over a six-year period.

It is hoped that the massive development, which will include a new public square with pedestrian links to the city, will make Limerick an attractive location for businesses leaving the UK due to Brexit.

The site was valued at over 100 million euros at the height of the boom, but the city council bought it for 12 million euros in 2011 following the economic crash.

Cogent Associates CEO Kevin James said: “. . . Not only is the opera house of enormous importance to Limerick, but because of what it will do for the regional economy in the Midwest, it will have national significance. This is a “key” development in line with the government’s plans for the reconstruction of Ireland by 2040. ”

Southgate approves zone change amid controversy

By Site development

SOUTHGATE, Ky – Southgate City Council unanimously approved a zone change to allow developers to transform the former Beverly Hills Supper Club on Wednesday night.

In May, the city partnered withEdgewood, Ky. Based construction firm Ashley Builders and Cincinnati-based Vision Realty Group agree to develop the land into a $ 65 million mixed-use development that will include an assisted living facility, apartments , houses – and a permanent memorial to the victims of the supper club fire in 1977.

The Campbell County Zoning Commission approved the necessary change. It was up to the city council to finalize the approval.

The approval came amid controversy as lawyers for the families of the fire victims tried to challenge the legality of parts of the project. Families hired lawyers who told city officials that construction should be banned on some project land – because they said it was a cemetery, according to emails the lawyer said. Stephen Megerle provided The Enquirer.

“It almost seems sacred,” said Robin Thornhill, a resident of Delhi township. “Obviously there are still pieces of people there. ”

According to Kentucky law, cities in Kentucky are supposed to prevent cemeteries from being used for things like parks, athletic fields, construction sites, and other structures. But, the definition of a cemetery can be broad.

Southgate City Attorney Mary Ann Stewart and Mayor Jim Hamberg did not respond to The Enquirer’s request for comment on the claim.

Thornhill, 48, was 5 when his father, three aunts and an unborn cousin died the night of the blaze that left 165 people dead and more than 200 injured.

When she learned the land could be developed, Thornhill joined the Beverly Hills Respect The Dead group, a group made up of families of fire victims. The group hired Megerle and attorney Todd McMurtry to represent their concerns and hopes for the land.

The community gathers to discuss

On Wednesday, dozens of community members and residents gathered at the Southgate Community Center to both support and oppose the project moving forward as planned.

“My clients are not opposed to the change of area or the development of the site,” Megerle said during the meeting. They wanted the land to be surveyed for human remains and a memorial built on top of the hill where the fire took place.

Tammy Nolan, founder of Beverly Hills Respect The Dead, read the names of the victims’ family members. They stood up one by one and wrote the name of their group in white letters on their black shirts and masks.

Dozens of family members of the victims and community members shared their thoughts on the proposed development. They agreed that the project could be good for the city. They disagreed on where the memorial in honor of the victims of the fire should go.

The developers want to put a memorial in honor of the victims of the fire along the US 27. But the members of the group want it where the cabaret room once stood, at the top of the hill, where many victims died.

“Go ahead and build it, but I want a memorial on the hill where my family members died,” Thornhill said, choking back tears.

Another commenter said the group was prohibited from telling developers where to place the memorial. He preferred it to the proposed location at the bottom of the hill so people could see it when they drove by.

A handful of speakers said the project should go ahead because it was better than stores such as Lowe’s and Walmart using the land.

“We intend to continue to work with a group of survivors and family members of the victims as well as Southgate Town officials on a memorial planning committee,” the developers said in a statement. Press release.

The cemetery dilemma

The group is concerned about the grassy terrain where the club’s cabaret hall once stood. This room is where many people died in the blaze, Megerle said.

Families of the fire victims have asked developers to survey the land to see if any human bodies remain. The developers plan to set up a private park there and claim that the investigation is not necessary.

The developers told The Enquirer in an emailed statement that there are “numerous records which verify and indicate that all the deceased have been counted and all the remains have been removed and examined by the coroner.”

A descendant, Leslie Henry, of Wilder, wrote in an affidavit given to The Enquirer that only her mother’s torso was recovered from the debris.

“I believe her remains are buried at the site of the Beverly Hills Supper Club, most likely in the area of ​​the cabaret hall where she worked so hard for my siblings and I to have better lives,” Wilder wrote. .

At Wednesday’s meeting, Henry pleaded for a compromise for the “graveyard that the earth has become.”

Developer attorney Sarah Houseman said in an email obtained by The Enquirer in a previous article that developers would stop construction in an area if human remains were found. Work would stop until the body could be “properly buried,” Houseman wrote.

Megerle wrote the city a letter saying the area should be considered a cemetery, which would prohibit the construction of a park under Kentucky law, according to documents Megerle shared with The Enquirer.

The legal definition of a cemetery is broad, so Megerle is prepared to seek an injunction on the project from the Campbell County Circuit Court. A judge would then decide if a park could be built there.

Two competing memorial ideas

The area of ​​land where the cabaret hall was located is also part of the dispute over the location of the memorial in honor of the victims of the fire. The developers plan to put a memorial alongside US 27. But those affected by the fire want it where the fire took place.

Recently, the developers agreed to allow those “directly affected” by the fire to access the park on the anniversary of the tragedy and at other times with the consent of the owners association, according to a report. release from the developers.

The descendants of the victims of the fire do not want their access to depend on the association of owners.

How did we get here?

In May, Southgate City Council reached a joint deal with the developers to redevelop the land.

The land was not zoned for the proposed project. The developers had to show why the site had to move from professional office use to a combination of living and general commerce.

In July, the Campbell County Zoning Commission, which is reviewing plans like this for towns in the county, unanimously approved the zoning change.

The six-member Southgate City Council had the final say on making the change happen.

What’s next for Memorial Point?

Construction on the $ 65 million redevelopment project is expected to begin in fall 2021.

He will understand :

  • 89 single family homes with two to four bedrooms that will be offered from the upper range of $ 300,000.
  • 100 to 200 apartments that will cost $ 1,100 to $ 2,000 per month with amenities that include a swimming pool, indoor exercise area and event center.
  • Up to 90 residential units in a for-profit assisted living facility that will cost between $ 3,000 and $ 6,000 per month.
  • A memorial to remember the lives lost in the deadly fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club.

Julia is the Northern Kentucky government reporter for the Report For America program. Anonymous donors have pledged to cover the local donor portion of his position funded by grants to The Enquirer. If you would like to support Julia’s work, you can donate to her Report For America post. on this site or email his editor Carl Weiser at [email protected] to find out how you can help fund his work.

Do you know something she should know? Drop her a note at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @JFair_Reports.

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Some families of fire victims want more say

By Site development

It’s been 43 years since a fire killed 165 people and injured more than 200 at the Beverly Hills Supper Club.

Now a developer plans to turn the land into a $65 million mixed-use development, called Memorial Point, which will include an assisted living facility, apartments, single-family homes and a permanent memorial to honor the victims of the 1977 supper club fire.

But some of the victims’ family members had no say in those plans, attorney Steven Megerle said. And a meeting they had planned to present their case to the developers? It was canceled hours before it started, he said. The cancellation follows a disagreement over who should attend, emails say.

Enquirer file Crews battle the deadly fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in 1977. Crews battle the deadly fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in 1977.

“We are still not heard”

Megerle says the city of Southgate rushed into a development deal with Edgewood-based construction company Ashley Builders and Cincinnati-based Vision Realty Group. And a zoning change that he says was rushed is now pending, in the hands of Southgate City Council.

A representative for Ashley Builders said the company follows zoning laws and procedures with every opportunity for public participation, and said the company had several interactions with Megerle’s group.

The developers have drawn up a plan to create a memorial with public access at the foot of the hill which leads to a private park.

A small memorial is located at the former site of the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Ky., Wednesday August 5, 2020.

But some families of victims say they don’t want the memorial at the foot of the hill. They want him at the site of the fire, where they believe many of the remains of their loved ones still rest.

Robin Thornhill says she was 5 when her parents, aunts and uncles were caught up in the fire. Her mother and two uncles initially dated, although her mother died nine months later. Her father and three of her aunts died the night of the fire, along with an unborn cousin.

“Even though there are no large pieces, their ashes are up there. And that’s why we think it’s a cemetery,” Thornhill said.

Robin Thornhill, 48, of Delhi Township, joins in a prayer at the former site of the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Ky., Wednesday, August 5, 2020. Thornhill lost five loved ones the night of the fire, then his mother nine months later from fire-related injuries.

Leslie Dischar Henry lost her mother, a cocktail waitress, the night of the fire. She says that only her mother’s torso was later recovered, and that it may not even have been her mother’s. The body was unidentifiable, she said. Henri was 18 at the time.

“I feel like my mother is still up there. And that’s like telling me you can’t go see her anymore. You can’t be here anymore,” Henry said.

In emails Megerle provided to The Enquirer, he outlined several demands to be discussed at a meeting Wednesday between family members of the victims, the developer and the town of Southgate.

But the meeting did not take place.

Attorney Steve Megerle leads a press conference with survivors and family members he represents at the former Beverly Hills Supper Club site in Southgate, KY on August 12, 2020

“The developer initially didn’t want the city to be at the meeting, for whatever reason,” Megerle said. “And then the developer wanted just one of the (family members) to attend the meeting on behalf of all the victims and all the families.”

Megerle pushed back. In an email to the promoter’s attorney, Sarah Houseman, Megerle wrote that he would bring no more than four clients to the meeting.

Houseman instead offered to schedule a meeting between Ashley Builders and family members without a lawyer, according to an email from him. Megerle says family members declined the offer.

Developer: “We’re listening”

“What if they start moving dirt and they start finding stuff?” Megerle said.

This question was raised in letters exchanged between legal advisers. Houseman wrote that there is no evidence that human remains exist at the site at this point, and numerous records confirm that all deceased were accounted for.

“However, the proponent agrees that if any human remains are discovered at the site during site development work, such work will cease in the area where they were discovered until they can be properly interred,” wrote Houseman.

In a statement provided to The Enquirer in response to a request for comment, Ashley Builders said she was working with a group of survivors and family members of victims, as well as city officials in Southgate, Australia. within a memorial planning committee.

In addition to the planned memorial along US 27, the developer says it will install a memorial marker or sign featuring a map of the Beverly Hills Supper Club at a community park.

Houseman’s letter says Megerle’s clients “refused to work with the established memorial group.”

Ashley Builders said it changed its plans following public meetings to address community concerns, according to their statement.

The next scheduled town meeting on the redevelopment is Wednesday.

Chronology

In May, Southgate City Council entered into a joint agreement with Ashley Builders and Vision Realty Group to develop the site.

In July, the Campbell County Zoning Commission unanimously approved the zoning change the developers needed to move the project forward.

The city council has the final say on whether the change is appropriate. Megerle said it was up to those six people “to do the right thing.”

City Council will meet on Wednesday, August 19 at the Southgate Community Center at 301 W. Walnut St.

What’s left:Fire and 40 years