Grange Road
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Birkenhead flats planned after £1.5m acquisition

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Columbia Threadneedle has sold a 117,000 sq ft building in Birkenhead town centre to Gape Equity, which plans to deliver an office-to-residential conversion on the upper floors.

Gape Equity, part of Nottingham-based ALB Investments, bought the mixed-use property on the corner of St John Street and Grange Road for £1.5m.

The block is next to Pyramids Shopping Centre and the Garrick Snug pub, and includes six retail units on the ground floor, three of which are let to Barclays, New Look, and TK Maxx.

Gape is planning to let the remaining vacant units, and convert the first and second floors to 70 one and two-bedroom flats.

Managing director of the company, Arran Bailey, said: “We’re well accustomed to the development of dual-purpose buildings, with residential flats on the upper floors and commercial operations at street level – so this new acquisition in Birkenhead dovetails very nicely with our key area of expertise.

“As the Wirral’s primary town, just a stone’s from Liverpool, Birkenhead has a lot going for it.

“It has all the transport links you could want, allied to lots of footfall for local businesses and plenty of appeal as a place to live.”

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Within 10 minutes of most of the city centre by underground, it’s a sad indictment of our city’s malaise that the opportunity to redevelop these at job hosting offices isn’t being seized due to pressing requirement.

While towns in Greater Manchester are seeing their centres brought back to commercial life, Bootle and Birkenhead are in slump mode, thanks to the (backed up truthfully by national statics, as opposed to the propaganda releases repeated in the Echo) lack of economic performance of the central borough.

Who would choose to live in a flat above a shop in an undeveloped Birkenhead town centre? How I wonder what kind of tenant these purchasers have in mind.

The potential going to waste in our city is tragic.

By Mike

How true…”As the Wirral’s primary town, just a stone’s from Liverpool, Birkenhead has a lot going for it.

“It has all the transport links you could want, allied to lots of footfall for local businesses and plenty of appeal as a place to live”.

By How True

Though I agree it would be better if these remain as offices, I do not see this as that bad. Firstly, Birkenhead needs repopulating. Secondly, Wirral Borough council are planning to build 400,000 sq ft of Grade A office next to Birkenhead town centre, which would be more attractive to businesses anyway. Thirdly, it is not all rosy for Greater Manchester; there was a BBC report with the mayor of Oldham who remarked that the new tram network has effectively destroyed their town centre by ferrying people in Manchester city centre instead!

My own opinion is that Wirral and Liverpool councils should merge. They are economically and culturally entwined, and I think this would lead to greater development of the Birkenhead side of the Mersey. It would also be great if they was a bridge between the two sides to facilitate the flow of people!

By Chris

We are a very big city and it’s true Birkenhead and Bootle are lagging behind. There is a time lag here I’m afraid. It is taking a very long time for our city to begin to function as one place. It’s down to Wirral and Sefton to get behind our city and realise the development in Bootle and Birkenhead that the central core has seen.
Salford started developing its old docks 30 years ago, they now have media city. And they worked WITH Manchester all that time. We need proactive development in Birkenhead and Bootle working WITH our central Borough. Then our city will be seen as a much bigger player and will compete with the best; this will increase prosperity all round..

By Roscoe

I am not sure which GM towns Mike has been to? Perhaps Altrincham? Certainly not Bolton, Oldham and Rochdale. Those towns are on life support with decaying centres and cheap tacky shops.Oldham has spent millions on a town centre with facilities nobody can afford rather than sorting out its ludicrous parking charges and its once great market.Oldham has also cancelled the rebuilding and extension of its famous theatre and the gentrification of Mumps is now an absolute shambles with a pound shop taking the place of the original Marks and Spencer’s. Bolton is even worse with the worst town centre in the North West.Behind Le Mans crescent where the bus station was is now a wasteland .There is no sign of any of these places benefiting from being near Manchester.Andy Burnham gets a nosebleed if he ventures over Alan Turing Way.

By Elephant

Gape equity – really?

By Anonymous