Liverpool City Council’s housing company will fund a £1m fit-out of the ground floor 68 Falkner Street to create space for the women’s education centre alongside rented apartments.
The former Toxteth Community College on Falkner Street in the city’s Georgian Quarter was purchased by Elliot Group from the council in 2016 and has since been redeveloped into 109 apartments.
As part of the deal, Elliot leased back the commercial space on the ground floor to the city council, which was aiming to sub-lease the space to Blackburne House as an education space.
According to the council, Blackburne House found the fit-out costs to be “higher than originally expected”, and the council’s housing company Foundations has now stepped in to bring the project forward.
Under the deal, to be agreed at a cabinet meeting this week, the council will provide £1m towards the fit-out of the space, with the education provider taking half and the remainder to be converted into four one-bed apartments and two two-bed apartments, to be delivered by Foundations.
Blackburne House will use the space to provide digital and entrepreneurship training programmes, and will take a 125-year sub-lease from the council.
Foundations is currently in discussions with Blackburne House about offering first refusal on the apartments to the charity’s students.
Cunard Construction has been appointed to the fit-out, and work on Blackburne House’s space is expected to complete in September this year, followed by Foundations completing in October. The charity’s fit-out is expected to cost £613,000, while the apartments will cost around £492,000.
Foundations chief executive Mark Kitts said: “We’re very excited to be announcing these plans to partner with Blackburne House, which is one of the country’s leading education and training centres for women.
“As an ethical housing provider, we feel strongly that our own values align perfectly with the ambitions of Blackburne House and our vision is to work together on this project to ensure that some of the most underserved communities in our city are provided with the opportunities to succeed.
“Through this partnership, we hope to create an inspiring space for Blackburne House and the wider community to benefit from. Our plan is to create six high-quality, sustainable apartments that will support part of our broader ambitions to improve neighbourhoods, improve the quality of housing and ensure good, affordable homes are accessible to everyone in our city.”