Heap's Rice Mill has been awarded grade 2-listed status by English Heritage, after an application to demolish the mill to make way for five residential towers was submitted to Liverpool City Council.
Developer One Park Lane outlined proposals in June for the Joseph Heap & Son site and adjacent car park in the Baltic Triangle. The mill site was to see five blocks of between 10 and 25 storeys in height, with a further two towers built on the car park. The £130m scheme would deliver 800 apartments.
Merseyside Civic Society made an application to English Heritage to list the site in March, ahead of the planning application. Permission for demolition was refused by council officers in July.
The building is now grade 2 on the list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. In order to demolish the warehouse permission has to be obtained from the secretary of state.
Following a site visit, the English Heritage report said: "Heap's Rice Mill is not only one of the earliest, but one of the last surviving warehouse complexes in this area, serving as an important physical reminder of the area's rich trading links and mercantile history."
Speaking on behalf of One Park Lane, developer Elliot Lawless said: "We've been enjoying some productive discussions with the council about how to incorporate the mill into our wider ambitions for the site and we're aiming to submit plans for a revised scheme by the end of August. The listing doesn't alter this.
"It's important to understand that without grant to stabilise the building and help reconfigure its interior it simply isn't viable in the current market. Values aren't high enough to justify the investment needed.
"There's a further risk that our funding partners switch their focus to schemes that can offer a more immediate return so I've got some work to do my end in that regard. They want to invest in Liverpool and like where the city's headed so I'm hopeful we can keep them on-board."
Falconer Chester Hall is the architect on the scheme.