HM Revenue & Customs is understood to have selected India Buildings as the preferred location for its new Liverpool home, leasing the majority of the office space within the 350,000 sq ft landmark property.
The Government was also looking at new-build options of up to 250,000 sq ft at Liverpool City Council’s Pall Mall, and Peel’s Liverpool Waters. However, starting construction of a building from scratch was not considered viable due to the target move-in date of 2019.
The Government Property Unit is currently conducting a consolidation programme across its regional offices, going from hundreds of offices to 13 HMRC hubs as part of the drive to raise up to £5bn from estate disposals.
In Liverpool, HMRC currently occupies Graeme House, Regian House, Imperial Court and The Triad in Bootle.
The grade two-listed India Buildings was sold in January by Green Property to Shelborn Asset Management for £17m, and at the time was 80% vacant.
India Buildings dominates Liverpool’s traditional office district and occupies an entire block at Water Street and Brunswick Street in the heart of the commercial centre. The gross internal floor area is 500,000 sq ft and includes the Holt’s shopping arcade on the ground floor.
Green bought the property in 2009 as part of a portfolio of distressed Allied Irish Bank assets. AIB had financed the purchase of the building by previous owner Achilleas Kallakis’ Atlas Group, who was later found to have defrauded the bank out of £750m using false documents. Under Atlas’ ownership India Buildings suffered and numerous tenants left after maintenance fell behind. Kallakis paid £45m for India in 2004.
Quoted rent at India Buildings is £16.50/sq ft. However, the building would be extensively refurbished both internally and externally in advance of HMRC taking occupancy.
Worthington Owen is the agent for India, while JLL is advising the Government on its estate strategy.