Liverpool Aerial October 2019 2

Liverpool endorses 2m sq ft office masterplan

Charlie Schouten

The city council has signed off plans to help build a “world class” commercial business district at the heart of Liverpool in an attempt to tackle a shortfall of offices.

The strategic regeneration framework for the commercial business district, which was endorsed by the council’s cabinet today, identifies the need for as much as 2m sq ft of offices over the Local Plan period, which runs to 2033.

Under the SRF, any proposals for anything other than offices or commercial space on these plots is likely to be resisted by the council. The SRF area covers from Mann Island in the south, heading up to Brook Street and Princes Dock to the north, and taking in areas such as Old Hall Street, Chapel Street, Dale Street, Tithebarn Street, and the waterfront.

Drawn up by Arup, architect Shedkm, Worthington Owen, and heritage consultant Rob Burns, has identified a number of sites for potential development. The council jointly commissioned the SRF alongside the Liverpool BID.

The SRF argued there had been “falling stock levels and a lack of any new Grade A office space” since the delivery of No4 St Paul’s Square. The report also flagged the lack of larger floor plates in the city, with most corporate occupiers requiring floor plates of around 15,000 sq ft.

“The city is now in desperate need of high quality offices to not only accommodate the growth of its existing occupier base but perhaps more importantly enable it to secure footloose occupier requirements and therefore grow as a commercial centre and become known as a national leader in office attractiveness,” said the SRF.

In an attempt to help address the shortfall, the framework shows 12 sites that could provide additional commercial development. These include Princes Dock, which has outline planning consent for 615,000 sq ft of offices, and the King Edward Triangle, while also has outline consent for 918,000 sq ft of commercial space.

Elsewhere, the Seat dealership on Leeds Street has been identified to house a mid-to-high rise commercial office scheme; within the CBD, the Rumford Street car park, and a plot next to Moorfields station have also been identified for offices.

A vacant plot off North Street has also been flagged as a development opportunity, along with the former Trinity Mirror printing room and car park on Brook Street, and the Court Building on Derby Square.

Existing buildings and developments have also been earmarked for offices; these include the Bank of England building on Castle Street; Beetham Court, a 12,000 sq ft office on Tithebarn Street; the 180,000 sq ft BT Building on Old Leeds Street; and the 83,000 sq ft Imperial Court on Exchange Street East.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “To be a world class business location a city needs a commercial district that can offer opportunity, flexibility, connectivity and quality – in its buildings and its streets.

“The supply of Grade A office space is critical to attracting major investors and jobs and this Spatial Regeneration Framework will underpin our long-term vision to deliver that.

“This SRF shows that Liverpool’s potential is huge. All the ingredients are there to transform our ambitions into reality. We must now maximise every opportunity to ensure our commercial district fulfils its role as a major engine in the Liverpool Powerhouse and UK economy.”

Your Comments

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Better late than never I suppose. Everybody but the Council has known for years that quality office space has been needed for the city to compete and attract high value jobs.

By John Smith

Will take a brave company to part with the money to develop these offices considering Grade A office rents are still sub £20.00 psf

By Sean

Liverpool Powerhouse?

I thought it was the Northern Powerhouse?

By L

Why are the cleared sites around Moorfields and Tithebarn St not listed? Surely this should be the priority area for development!!

By anon

Liverpool needs office space. We are not just a Beatles city or a city that sells ice cream to tourists. We need to carry our own and we are big enough to compete. Against all odds and those who wish to hold Liverpool back, we are a resilient city and we have to show we are a world city. We are not a city for nimbyism or conservationists, we have to prove we are a world city and Liverpool is big enough to get its jobs done.

By Michael McDonut

Re: the absence of Moorfields sites, it’s because of the sheer number of old tunnels beneath them, which pose substantial engineering challenges and massively ramp-up costs for anything over three or four floors.

By Sceptical

Can someone translate Joe Anderson’s statement for me please? Engines… flexible streets… quality… ‘national leader in office attractiveness’… what does all this mean? It’s like the publicity word generator has gone into meltdown.

By Alien

The only thing holding Liverpool back is itself.

Hopefully this sparks something.

By L

We could start with having a meaningful airport for business to get their staff in and out of the city and wider region- only then can we be taken seriously

By Stuart wood

There are no true physical impediments at Moorfields, only a lack of ambition and imagination. Bearing in mind, when the link was built the local government was pro-growth and optimistic, having an empty plot of land there was not on the agenda.

There are many options, from placement and size of buildings, replacement of the moorfields lean-to with a new tall building with ground floor station, to replacement of the lean-to entirely and shifting the entrance over the street (a swap).

If Moorfields doesn’t figure amongst the plots where commercial is mandated, I would question what if any agreements have already been made.

Any which see the land as anything other than top end commercial, and a sorted out Moorfields station, would be a colossal waste.

By Mike

I agree with Mike (Oct 28, 9.29am). The area looks rather sad, the land that time forgot, demonstrating a lack of vision and joined-up thinking. For example, the Court building on the corner of Tithebarn/Vernon Streets looks totally out of place amidst a sea of dreariness. Some nice old pubs around there in and around Dale Street though. They must be worth keeping;)


By Liver lad

2 metres isn’t very much. What can you fit in 2 metres?

By Bill

The Waterfront hinterland and Pall Mall should accommodate the big blocks, Moorfields can grow the burgeoning local digital sector. Needs a separate project, maybe even with a CIC as in the Baltic.
Liverpool needs better train links to its two airports, especially LJLA but all the building blocks are there. Liverpool was historically the office capital of the north, it can go a long way to reclaiming its rightful place with a concerted effort!

By Liverpolitan