Oakstore has lodged a fresh planning application as it seeks to add further dwellings at Victoria House in Liverpool’s James Street, now being advanced as a co-living development.
Various proposals have been approved at the former office building in recent years, combining conversion under permitted development rights and extension. The most recently lodged came in January this year, covering 78 apartments in the main body of the building.
Oakstore, a residential management brand set up by AR&V Investments, has now filed an application to alter a previous consent, which allowed for a two-storey rooftop extension including 10 apartments, so that an extension of the same scale can accommodate 20 self-contained studios.
Two further studios would be created in an extension within the undercroft at first floor mezzanine level. The proposals, which also include external improvements to the 1960s building, will take Victoria House to 100 dwellings in a 10-storey building.
The designs for the project have been put together by Wilmslow-based NC Architecture on behalf of Oakstore parent AR&V, which acquired Victoria House in 2018, paying administrator Dow Schofield Watts £2.35m for the asset.
The site’s previous owner, Pinnacle Residential Liverpool, had planned to convert the offices into 70 apartments, but collapsed in April 2018 owing £2.2m to its investors. Strip-out of office fittings had been completed by the initial contractor, with little further work taking place.
Co-living developments have stared to move forward in the region, with the most high-profile proposal being a 650-capacity project in Echo Street, Manchester.
An Oakstore spokesman said: “Oakstore are looking to create a brand and co-living portfolio in the key major regional cities with Liverpool being our first and our flagship.
“This co-living brand will inject life and energy in to a key part of Liverpool city centre by creating a new living hub offering residents a living solution that is luxurious but at the same time affordable. Retaining creative and young professionals in Liverpool city centre is crucial to the city continuing to flourish.” Facilities will include a gym and residents’ lounge with flexible working space.
The application’s planning statement lodged by The Planning Studio argues that: “As the size and demand of the traditional rental population in Liverpool has grown, average rents have risen steeply, making it harder for young people and others to remain in or move to the city centre.
“The proposal is addressing a real need that arises within Liverpool, one that will continue to arise unless purpose-built, affordable communal accommodation is provided.”