Tenders notices have been published seeking a contractor for the £40m development of an 87,000 sq ft exhibition hall as an extension to the Arena & Convention Centre Liverpool at Kings Dock.
An investment partner is also being sought for a planned 200-bed four or five-star hotel as part of the expansion. The notices have been published following agreement being reached with the Homes & Communities Agency for the transfer of the land at Kings Dock to the council.
It is anticipated that a contractor will be appointed by September, with works starting in autumn 2013 and the exhibition centre due for completion late 2014.
The concept design was produced by London-based Populous but the contract will be on design-and-build basis. Aecom is the technical advisor. The council will apply for planning consent after the appointment of the contractor.
The exhibition centre will be used to stage both trade and consumer exhibitions, as well as large national and international conferences with attached exhibitions, large scale banquets and concerts for up to 10,000 people standing. It will be directly linked to the existing facilities at ACC Liverpool via a covered link to BT Convention Centre.
Funding for the development is set to be raised through borrowing, supported directly from the revenue generated by the centre, so that the development will be at no cost to tax-payers. It will be wholly owned by Liverpool City Council and managed by the existing ACC Liverpool team.
Bob Prattey, chief executive of ACC Liverpool, said: "Seeking a contractor is the next step in the development of Exhibition Centre Liverpool and we look forward to the opportunity of sharing this journey.
"ACC Liverpool will become the only purpose-built interconnected arena, convention centre and exhibition facility in the UK so this is a sizeable project for us and for the city, all of which will enhance the waterfront.
"The development, with its flexibility, interconnectivity with our existing facilities and progressive technology, will ensure that Liverpool continues to move towards becoming one of Europe's leading destinations for large-scale conferences, exhibitions and events."
ACC Liverpool was designed by Wilkinson Eyre and opened in 2008.