Liverpool to commit £11m to arena improvements
The city council is expected to nearly double its investment in the convention centre as a result of rising costs in materials and labour – as well as inflation.
In 2021, the city council had agreed to commit £5.7m towards repairing and upgrading the Arena and Convention Centre at King’s Dock. However, the estimated costs for the project were made using 2019 figures.
AECOM was appointed to be the employer’s agent in 2022 and has since then re-evaluated the budget required for the work, as well as adding a 10% contingency for market volatility.
The revised costs are £3.1m for lifecycle works and £7.5m for capital works, according to a city council report. Originally these works were set to cost £2.4m and £3.1m, respectively.
The specific work includes repairing the ACC’s roof, upgrading the power supply, improving air conditioning and heating systems, and enhancing the centre’s soundproofing. Works related to drainage, paving, escalators, lifts, CCTV, doors, and fire detection are also scheduled.
Liverpool City Council’s cabinet is set to approve the increase in spending on 1 February.
As to why the city council has been tasked with making these repairs and upgrades, it all stems from the 2008 lease agreement for the facility. However, a new lease has now been agreed which, going forward, will mean that the cost of repairs and maintenance will be ACC Liverpool Group’s responsibility.
Cllr Nick Small, the cabinet member for growth and economy, justified the investment by saying that the arena complex was “a major success story for Liverpool”.
“We want to build on the momentum of its success, including hosting Eurovision, which is why this work is so vitally important for not just ACC Liverpool, but our wider visitor economy,” he continued.
“We are funding the cost of these works, which fall under the original lease arrangements, to ensure ACC Liverpool can continue to deliver top-quality events and conferences.
Small went on to discuss the city council’s new lease agreement.
“As part of our improvement journey, we are determined to get the best value from our assets and property, and minimise the risk to council taxpayers,” he said.
“The new lease arrangement provides a stable and secure basis on which to enhance the delivery of events at the waterfront site and supports our strategic growth plans for the city.”
In addition to no longer being responsible for repairs, the new lease agreement also ensures that the city council no longer has to make good any losses made by the arena’s operating main company. The city council will get an enhanced full commercial rent and, after outstanding rent has been repaid, will receive a profit share.