Bowmer + Kirkland is gearing up to begin construction of the £54m scheme, a research and development facility aimed at decarbonising the glass manufacturing industry.
The contractor is to start building the 165,000 sq ft Glass Futures next month and the project is expected to complete in January 2023, ready for fit-out.
“It’s fantastic that we’ll soon see spades in the ground,” said Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region.
“The work being done to decarbonise the glass production process is of international significance and I want our region to be at the forefront of the race to save our planet. The green industrial revolution will bring a lot of jobs, investment and opportunities and projects like Glass Futures will help give us the track record to keep attracting other exciting new businesses.”
An update on the timeline of the project follows news of a forward funding agreement.
Last week, Place North West reported that Standard Life Investments Property Income Trust, part of Abrdn, had paid £15m to construct the facility.
Designed by Aew Architects, Glass Futures has been pre-let to St Helens Council on a 15-year lease and will be sublet to Glass Futures upon completion of the scheme.
Glass Futures is a not-for-profit research and technology organisation set up to drive the decarbonisation of the glass industry.
“Starting on site is monumental, it enables the delivery of a global test-bed facility to develop processes to make glass the most sustainable and recyclable material available,” said Glass Futures’ chief executive Richard Katz.
“The research, innovations and energy efficiencies we deliver here can be shared and harnessed by all global glass applications. This global centre of excellence will enable us to work collaboratively with our members, the supply chain and academia to ultimately achieve zero carbon glass.”
One of the key features of the development is an experimental furnace that can melt 30 tonnes of glass per day.
Having sold the site to Abrdn, Network Space will develop the facility.
Catherine Chilvers, development director at Network Space, said: “Bowmer + Kirkland starting on site within just two years of the Glass Futures scheme being first conceived is testament to our own commitment to the project and that of an exceptional partnership formed between ourselves, Glass Futures, St Helens Council, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and UKRI.”