GMPVF in talks over Liverpool office pre-let

Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund is negotiating with one of Liverpool's three universities over an office deal at a site acquired recently from Urban Splash on Old Haymarket.

The city centre plot totals 0.3 acres and is next to the Travelodge, gym and offices developed several years ago by Urban Splash. GMPVF, part of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund for the ten local authorities, paid an undisclosed sum for the land.

Architects Austin-Smith:Lord have been appointed to draw up designs for an office development of between 60,000 sq ft and 70,000 sq ft.

The nearest university to the site is Liverpool John Moores University which has administration space on Hatton Garden and a library on Tithebarn Street. Liverpool University is based around the traditional university district on Brownlow Hill. The ecumenical Liverpool Hope University is based in south Liverpool but may want a city centre base to help attract admin staff.

Greater Manchester Pension Fund published its annual report and accounts for the year to the end of March 2010 earlier this month. The report states: "During the year GMPVF has purchased a site in Liverpool city centre which may be suitable for an office development project. Discussions are ongoing with a higher education establishment which has a requirement for a city centre administration headquarters facility."

The report stated that GMPVF was valued at £11.68m compared to £10.98m in March 2009. GMPVF is managed by GVA Grimley and is the development vehicle of the pension fund. There are also standing property investments and equity in other property investment funds. Overall property investments in the fund dipped to £364m from £386m in 2009, under-performing the market.

The total investment value of the pension fund, including general equities in the UK and overseas, bonds and other assets rose more than 30% from £7.76bn in 2009 to £10.44bn.

Tameside Council manages the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

All parties declined to comment further.

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