Council considers sale of Municipal Buildings
The traditional main office of Liverpool City Council could be sold under plans to reduce the number of buildings it occupies and adjust to budget cuts.
A report to the Cabinet on Friday 30 September is recommending that the 1860s Municipal Buildings on Dale Street be declared surplus to requirements and marketed for sale. The council faces having to make £90m of savings over the next three years.
The 130,000 sq ft grade two star-listed building has space for 1,000 staff but only 640 employees are employed there due to a significant reduction in the council’s headcount in recent years.
Under the proposal being considered, workers would be moved to other existing sites across the city such as Cunard Building at the Pier Head, Premier Court on Hatton Garden, Venture Place on Sir Thomas Street and Wavertree Customer Focus Centre on Wavertree Road.
The drop-in centre for residents and businesses based in Municipal Buildings will be relocated to a self-contained unit within the refurbished St John’s Market, ensuring that customers can still access council services in a central location. Consideration is also being given to putting other public-facing Government services in the facility to generate wider savings.
A back up data-centre which is based in the building and was due to be upgraded shortly will be moved to Cunard Building.
Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Municipal Buildings has been a magnificent home for Liverpool City Council since the 1860s, but it is a very costly building to run and maintain and we no longer have the staff numbers to justify retaining it.
“We want to find out the level of interest that there is from potential purchasers with a view to finding a long-term sustainable use for the site which will also create new jobs.
“This is a listed building and I want to reassure people that it will be protected and we will ensure that its future use protects its unique architectural features. We have already done this with other heritage buildings in the area such as the Municipal Annexe and Royal Insurance Building which have both been improved and brought back into use as four star hotels.
“The sale of Municipal Buildings will bring in money which we can reinvest in reducing the costs of our capital infrastructure programme, as well as delivering ongoing savings by lowering our overheads.”
The report is also asking for approval to renegotiate the lease or purchase the leasehold on Venture Place on Sir Thomas Street ahead of its expiry in March 2017.
If approved, Municipal Buildings will be marketed for sale in the autumn with the outcome brought back to Cabinet in due course for a final decision.