Cert bought the former Bibby HQ in 2019. Credit: via Influential

Liverpool secures largest letting in three years 

Sony-owned video game developer Firesprite will take the entirety of CERT Property’s 50,000 sq ft Duke & Parr, providing a much-needed boost to the city’s office market. 

Firesprite is relocating from the Vanilla Factory on Fleet Street to the former Bibby Line headquarters in Liverpool’s Ropewalks district, where the company is understood to have signed a 10-year lease. 

CERT purchased the four-building cluster at 91 and 105 Duke Street, which includes Liverpool’s grade two-listed former public library, in December 2019. 

The developer then converted the property into modern office space aimed at technology businesses. 

CERT Property founder Howard Lord said: “This lease with a world-leading games and entertainment giant is testament to the team who worked with us on this project to deliver the vision we had to create an inspiring workplace that would attract occupiers in the post-pandemic role of the workplace.”

Firesprite’s 50,000 sq ft letting at Duke & Parr is the largest in Liverpool since parent company Sony took 65,000 sq ft at Echo Place in 2019. 

Office take-up in Liverpool city centre has been low over recent months and years; in the first quarter of 2022, just 8,000 sq ft of space was let in the city centre compared with 72,000 sq ft out of town. 

Worthington Owen acted for Firesprite on the deal.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority invested nearly £5m to refurbish the site. That money, which came from the region’s Urban Development Fund and Chrysalis Fund, has since been repaid in full.

Cllr Janette Williamson, the portfolio holder for inclusive economy and the third sector at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said: “This is a great example of how investment from the Combined Authority can unlock projects that help drive growth and regeneration.

“It is fantastic to see this historic old building given a new lease of life at the heart of our thriving digital and creative sector,” she continued.

“The fact that our £5m investment has already been repaid means that we can put that money to work again, creating jobs and opportunities for local people.”

This story has been updated on 8 February 2023 to include quotes and information on Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s involvement.

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First the investment deal for 5 St Paul’s Square and now this. Is there life in the old dog yet?

By Sceptical

Delighted , great news for the city and excellent quality jobs retained.

By Paul M - Woolton

A great boost for Duke Street, which is seeing further activity with a number of hotels on site in this immediate area, over recent years Duke Street has blossomed into a vibrant thoroughfare and there are still a small number of development opportunities to take advantage of.
This letting shows that if you have the right development you can attract the tenants.

By Anonymous

It’s been a great few days for Liverpool what with this development and the fabulous Rolling Stones concert at A field giving the city a huge amount of positive coverage in the national media.

By Teddy Smith

Wow, if we can just get some more tenants to relocate around the city, we can keep pretending the merry-go-round is actually a _vibrant commercial market!!_

By Anonymous

Sony love Lpool

By Greg

The old dog is not dead yet.

By Geo

Itll take a whole lot more than this aquasition in Duke St to animate one of the most depressing and miserable streets in the city centre.

By Dino Carlucci

Sorry Dino, have you walked up Duke Street lately ( I know it`s very long ), it has vibrant bars, restaurants, hotels either built or under construction, yes it has pockets where development is needed but by and large its a regeneration success.

By Anonymous

Good stuff but it’s a relocation, so how much vacant space is now in the vanilla factory? Shifting the problem.

By Abots

Total rental space at Vanilla is just over 63,000 sq ft. Not sure what Sony has at present? There are other tenants there.

By Liverpolitis

At least it’s not the usual bad news but it is just a relocation, hardly much to be excited about.

By Anonymous

They are moving from about 10,000 sq. ft. to 50,000 sq. ft. so this is definitely good news!

By This is good news!

Yes indeed good news!

By Lovepool

And this is the largest letting in Liverpool in three years?…yikes!

By NoRomance

Well it’s an office and it’s in Liverpool so that’s a step in the right direction. Just times this by a thousand and we’ll be in a reasonable position.

By Anonymous

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