An £8m remediation project to enable development at the listed Edge Lane building, the centrepiece of the city’s proposed media complex, goes to cabinet next week.
If the cabinet signs off on the £8m project at its 3 December meeting, the cash will be granted to developer Capital&Centric to carry out site investigations, remediation and main scheme design works.
The £8m required is part of a wider £17m funding package previously agreed by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, £3m of which has already delivered The Depot studios on an adjoining plot.
LCC said that phase one works will take approximately a year. Once phase two is fully costed, a full development contract for the £70m redevelopment of the art deco building could be awarded.
The council and Combined Authority are each projected to invest £12m, with a commercial lender sought to provide the balance.
The Littlewoods building, which was damaged by fire in 2018, would include major studios, creative office space and new media facilities.
Although still subject to planning permission, the scheme already has two proposed major anchor tenants in Twickenham Studios and Liverpool John Moores University.
The Littlewoods Studios scheme would comprise:
- 85,000 sq ft of studio and ancillary space for Twickenham Film Studios, to be operated by TIME+SPACE Studios.
- 75,000 sq ft of space for LJMU to deliver an entertainment technology centre to ensure local young people develop high-level skills to work in the industry.
- A further 95,000 sq ft of flexible employment space for creative industries, which will be advertised to market for expressions of interest.
Littlewoods Studios would follow The Depot, which opened last month and comprise two 20,000 sq ft temporary filming stages, managed by the Liverpool Film Office..
Cllr Sarah Doyle, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “The Littlewoods Studios scheme has the potential to be a real game changer for the city’s TV and film sector, underlining our growth as a truly world class location.
“The move from being the ‘go to city’ for exterior shoots to one that can provide productions with the studios and talent supply to match our stunning backdrops is one the city needs to deliver, as the economic and educational benefits are there for all to see. This report spells out the first steps to bringing this sleeping giant of a building back to life.”
Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital&Centric, said: “This is a pivotal moment for the Littlewoods project and will kickstart activity on site. We’ve worked hard to get to this stage, investing in developing the vision for the site and securing key tenants. We can’t underestimate what an important regeneration project this is to Liverpool.
“As well as cementing Liverpool’s position at the forefront of the UK’s creative industry, it will bring a shed load of benefits to people living nearby with thousands of jobs and millions invested.”