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Cert bought 91 and 105 Duke Street from the shipping company in December

Former Bibby Line HQ earmarked for creative refurb

Sarah Townsend

Manchester-based developer Cert Property has lodged an application to convert the 57,000 sq ft heritage building in Liverpool’s Ropewalks district into a hub for technology businesses.

Cert purchased the collection of four separate buildings at 91 and 105 Duke Street, the latter of which is Liverpool’s grade two-listed former public library, from shipping company Bibby Line Group for an undisclosed sum in December.

The family-owned marine business had occupied the property as its headquarters for a quarter of a century, but relocated to premises at Walker House, part of the wider 360,000 sq ft Exchange Flags office-led scheme in the city centre.

Cert has now submitted a listed building application to Liverpool City Council to convert the property into modern office space for technology businesses.

In its new guise as a creative workspace, the property has been renamed ‘Duke & Parr’, and interior designer Sheila Bird Group has been appointed to develop the brand and design concept.

Elevate Architects will work alongside Sheila Bird to deliver the scheme, while Workspace Design & Build has been appointed as main contractor and is already on site, undertaking initial stripping out works within the building.

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Cert said it aims to “refurbish the collection of properties…[to] embrace the history and character of the building, with its historic fabric exposed and celebrated as part of the scheme.”

105 Duke Street was Liverpool’s first Public Library between 1852-60 and was grade II listed in 1975. It was later extended and became part of a warehouse belonging to Peter Walker in 1865. It was later occupied as the headquarters of Bibby Line Group.

Howard Lord, managing director of Cert Property, said: “The property has so many different elements to it, having been comprised of four different buildings around an amazing central atrium, which gives us the opportunity to create something really unique as a destination for people to work and play.

“We have some exciting plans and look forward to releasing more details of these plans in due course.”

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See what happens when you let normal organisations redevelop city centre buildings? They don’t turn them into bedsits and sell “shares” in them to overseas pensioners.

By Mike

Some workspace. At last.

By Mike

Believe it when I see it. They own a building opposite Moorfields and that’s just as grim as the day they bought it.

By Sceptic

Beautiful, in Manchester this would be knocked down and replaced with a plastic 24 storey tower sold to Chinese investors and left empty.

By Dan

Wow . If this is the level of investment we can expect going forward things are going to get grim .

By Anonymous

This is certainly great news for the former Bibby Line HQ! I was worried about this building when it was announced Bibby was relocating….thinking someone like Signature, or one of Joe’s other mates, would get their hands on it and convert it into some horrendous stag/hen do apartment complex.

As other commenters state below, this is what happens to buildings in our cities and towns when shyster developers aren’t able to get their hands on them…..developers who come out of nowhere with money to burn and under the age of 40….ahem….ahem!

Just another thought. If Iain Duncan Smith and other Tories get their way, and if a great reset is to happen on how we do business with China in the future, then maybe most of the North West apartment developments might have to be planned, funded, constructed and marketed towards North West individuals who need somewhere decent to live….rather than overseas investors desperate to get whatever money they can out of their home countries (where they get imprisoned/disappeared if they fall foul of their governments) into a stable democracy with properly functioning courts with decent property protection rights….like here in the UK. Rant over!

By Old Hall Street

Beautiful, but as we’re in Liverpool this is more likely to be stripped out and converted into a budget hotel for stag and hen parties, complete with mirrored ceilings, hot tubs, slides and revolving dance floors. Offices don’t do well.

By Danny

The Moorfields building that ‘Sceptic’, I think, refers to was actually re-developed by Capital & Centric not by Cert.

By Anonymous

Anonymous – Sceptic is correct, Cert own Centric House on Moorfields which has remained empty for several years and looks terrible.

By Mikes mate