Liverpool’s latest office-to-resi opportunity comes forward

An office building in Water Street with potential to be converted into 141 apartments has been brought to the market at a guide price of £4.5m by Hitchcock Wright & Partners, acting for a private client.

Drury House comprises 32,200 sq ft across seven storeys and could be extended to the rear along Drury Lane. The redevelopment proposal would comprise 108,600 sq ft in total if built out.

Hitchcock Wright said other commercial uses, such as a hotel, would also be suitable for the site. Brian Ricketts, partner at Hitchcock Wright & Partners, said: “This is a truly unique and rare opportunity to acquire something more than an existing building with refurbishment and conversion potential, which has been prevalent in the market in recent times. The additional adjacent development site gives a developer much further scope to create a new landmark building directly next to the iconic grade two-listed India Buildings.

“Whilst we are targeting the residential market we are not ruling out other commercial uses such as a hotel which the site would also lend itself to. There is a growing demand for high end city centre apartments and luxury accommodation for the city’s burgeoning tourist market.

“The amenities in the buildings vicinity, including the popular eateries on Castle Street, as well as the Pier Head and the Albert Dock makes a residential conversion or redevelopment hugely attractive; we have already had strong demand for this site.”

More than 1.2m sq ft of office stock in Liverpool has been lost to residential and other uses in the past 18 months, according to CBRE, and another 250,000 sq ft has been earmarked for conversion in 2017.

Total office stock in Liverpool has contracted from 7m sq ft to 5.8m sq ft, with 425,000 sq ft of available grade A and grade B space.

Landlords are starting to be more bullish as a result of reduced supply with headline rents pushing towards £20/sq ft more frequently and rent-free incentives shortening from 50% of lease length to 30%.

Take-up for the past year is expected to total around 350,000 sq ft when Professional Liverpool reports its annual research.

The last new office building completed in Liverpool was No 4 St Paul’s Square in July 2011 by English Cities Fund.

The only proposed office building with planning consent in the development pipeline in central Liverpool is Peel’s No 5 Princes Dock, totalling 81,000 sq ft, with no date set for a start on site.

Offices taken from the market in the past 18 months include 60 Old Hall Street, to Signature Living, and Martin’s Bank Building, to hotel developer Principal Hayley Group.

Your Comments

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Are there any offices left in Liverpool?

By Adam

Who needs places to work. We can all shell out three grand a year for a season ticket to Manchester, can’t we?

A pathetic state of affairs, of which everyone involved should feel thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Liverpool deserves better.

By Mike

Is anyone looking for office space in Liverpool though? To me, its a great thing that people want to live here right now and that these buildings are being put to use. Liverpool Waters will provide plenty of office space in the longer term.

By Rooney

National Government Policy means anyone can convert offices to flats these days. No planning permission needed, except for layouts etc. Only London and Manchester are exempt, and only in certain locations. Liverpool applied for exemption, but was denied.

By Adam

This needs context. As supply is reduced headline rents will increase as this article suggests is already happening. As rents hit a certain tipping point, spec development becomes viable which means Liverpool should then be able to compete with some of the other core cities for footloose occupiers. Hopefully this times nicely with the council plans for Pall Mall Exchange. The commercial office market is the last piece in Liverpool’s regeneration jigsaw that needs sorting. Office to resi conversion is therefore definitely no bad thing in my mind.


Pack it in “Rooney”. Wherever “here” is for you it obviously isn’t Liverpool.

The current situation has little to do with demand, lack or excess thereof, but instead the result of Liverpool playing second fiddle. As you well know.

By Mike

The Royal College of surgeons have chosen Paddington! Or, Edge Hill to you and me. Cities shift all the time and Liverpool is a dynamic city. The area around Castle Street provides plenty of other opportunities, it’s a wonderful place, and much of the office space there is unsuitable anyway. While rents are higher in our sister city and they still have the aftermath of ‘the Osborne effect’, Liverpool is attracting big players on many different levels.. not just offices! Liverpool’s a great city to invest in and sustainable long-term jobs are better than temporary fluff.

By Altmouth

Once upon a time leaders in Liverpool encouraged the city to have actual business in their office buildings, not flats.

Today there is almost zero commercial development and when there is a small amount of activity it’s usually companies moving from within the city.

There is a dangerous scenario here of having to commute to Manchester everyday to work as there will be nothing but hotels and apartments in Liverpool…unless that’s the agenda?

By Michael McDonough

We need a conservative mayor and council to start changing this city into a business friendly, job creating city, not just building student accommodation

By Stuart

Softy, softly, catchy monkey; in other words “don’t flurry, patience gains the day”. We may not have today, but tomorrow’s deffo in the bag.

By DuncanD

Relax everyone, Liverpool is not going to become Croydon to Manchester’s London.

By Elephant

Is Liverpool going to abandon all of it’s businesses for the tourism?

By Tofu

Tofu I think you may be right – and it needs to have other strings to its bow.

By Gloria Vandyke

Hopefully, the tourism industry will start to stimulate other business activity such as suppliers, contractors and recruitment agencies among many others. The recent trend of older office space being converted into apartments and hotels is making use of the empty or little used buildings and helping to create extra economic activity in that location. Yes it is a little disappointing to see office space disappear, this seems to be spreading to other cities, but maybe this opens the door for new build (he hopes) in the KQ and LW’s locations, time will tell.

By Man on bicycle

With every new resi scheme in Liverpool the city look even better every day. And much more like world city than the other place down the East Lancs. Manchester’s monopoly on offices will be short lived, you wait and see!

By Altmouth

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