Liverpool’s India Buildings is to become a UK government “hub”, with confirmation of the long-rumoured 270,000 sq ft letting also meaning that the £125m sale of the building to L&G is set to go through.
Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs will occupy the majority of the space with 3,500 staff, making it one of the city’s largest employers. HMRC’s presence will account for around 270,000 sq ft, occupying space over 10 floors. Staff will move in from 2019. Other government departments will also occupy space at the building.
Jon Thompson, chief executive of HMRC, said: “HMRC has a large and long-established presence in Liverpool and the North West, and the new regional centre demonstrates our commitment to Liverpool, the region and its economy.
“The signing of the lease for India Buildings gives us the opportunity to bring an iconic Liverpool building back to life, while providing staff with the flexible and collaborative working environment that is expected from a modern organisation – making the centre a hub of highly skilled career opportunities.”
The exchange of contracts on the lease also means that L&G’s purchase of the building is to be completed. First reported in April, the acquisition, made on behalf of L&G’s LPPI Income Property Fund, represents the largest sale in Liverpool history and an exit for Shelborn Asset Management, which acquired India Buildings in January 2016 from Green Property for just £16m.
Shelborn, which acquired the nearby Exchange Flags for £42m last November, will act as development manager at India Buildings, with Marwees India Buildings as the developer.
As letting agent for India Buildings, Worthington Owen provided leasing advice to Shelborn, with JLL acting for the Government Property Unit and HMRC. Knight Frank acted for Shelborn on the investment sale, with Mason Owen representing the purchaser.
The rental level is understood to be £18.50/sq ft. Liverpool architect Falconer Chester Hall and historic building advisor DGM Conservation have been working with HMRC on remodelling and modernising the building’s interiors.
Public access through Holts Arcade, long regarded as a right of way, is to be stopped as the building is given appropriate security. Agreements are in place to relocate all retailers from the arcade to the outside of the building.
In Liverpool, HMRC will be decanting out of Graeme House, Regian House, Imperial Court and The Triad in Bootle.
Joe Anderson, mayor of Liverpool, said of the deal: “This is welcome news which will not only deliver an economic boost by increasing the number of workers employed in this part of the city, but also secures the future of one of our most loved buildings.
“It is a huge vote of confidence from Government and another shot in the arm for our ongoing renaissance which is seeing us attract investment not just in new developments but also in regenerating landmark buildings.”
Richard Wharton, director of office agency at JLL, said: “We carried out a measured selection process which took in to account wide ranging factors including cost efficiency. HMRC’s decision to move to India Buildings is a huge boost for the city.”